The Heritage Project

 

Arguably the most important features of Presqu’Isle, today, are its two remaining slave quarters. The pair of duplexes witnessed not only slavery, housing enslaved servants from about 1820 until emancipation, but also the full evolution of rural African American history in Virginia’s Piedmont from the end of the Civil War until approximately 1980.
  
The Heritage Project at Historic Presqu’Isle is focused on preserving these extremely important structures, illuminating the experiences of those who lived within their walls and enabling the public to personalize that history through on-site experiences.
 

Eastern view of the slave quarters at Presqu’Isle

  

Our roadmap to success

 
Given the considerable deterioration of both quarters over the centuries—particularly the north building—the project will take significant time and resources to complete. We are thankful and excited to be faced with such a challenge and hope that you will join us as we begin this journey:
 


Physical Preservation Historical Interpretation Community Engagement
Phase One

  • Secure ownership and protection of slave quarters and surrounding land
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  • Rehabilitate/preserve both buildings, including the addition of public restroom facilities

  • Collect first-person accounts of life at Presqu’Isle
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  • Develop educational exhibits and experiences

  • Presqu’Isle open to visitors seasonally (grounds-daily; buildings-by appointment)
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  • Periodic community events

Phase Two

  • Establish a capital fund to support future preservation and maintenance needs

  • Install educational exhibits and experiences

  • Presqu’Isle open to visitors seasonally (grounds-daily; quarters-weekends; manor-by appointment)
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  • Periodic community events




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Phase One – Updates

 
Presqu’Isle and its important history are threatened by the ever-expanding borders of Northern Virginia. By securing ownership of the quarters by the Historic Presqu’Isle Foundation and protecting the property with a conservation easement, the important history that these structures represent will be preserved in perpetuity. An assessment of the processes and funding required to enact this transition is in progress.
  
Additionally, both quarters have been evaluated by Dominion Traditional Building Group—a regional expert in historic masonry and preservation work. Their analysis of the structural and functional repairs to restore the buildings to their near-original condition can be viewed by clicking here. With the northern wall of the north quarter facing imminent collapse, work must be initiated soon or one of the quarters may be lost forever.
  


 


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How you can get involved

 

Share your story

 
If you have personal history with Presqu’Isle, we would love to hear your story. Please contact the Foundation President, Aaron Mastin, at aaronm@presquisle.com and we will be happy to facilitate an oral or written submission. Furnishings, artifacts and mementos authentic to the quarters are also welcome.
  

Make a donation

 
The physical restoration work needed to complete Phase I of The Heritage Project is estimated to be approximately $400,000. To learn more about how you can support The Heritage Project through a tax-deductible donation, please click here.
 


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