Surry on National Register

Published 11:37 am Wednesday, December 13, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

SURRY — The town of Surry was added to the National Register of Historic Places this month, according to the National Park Service.

The listing includes areas along Colonial Trail East, Rolfe Highway, Lebanon and Beechland roads, and School and Church streets.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The national listing follows the town’s listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register in September. The Surry County Courthouse complex was put on the National Register in the 1980s.

The designation is expected to add luster to tourism in the town of Surry and the surrounding county given its proximity to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.  {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Included in the designation is Davis Town, a predominantly African-American area considered significant for illustrating the racial segregation that existed in Surry until the latter decades of the 20th century, according to a summary for the Register filed with the National Park Service.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources compiled a 52-page report on the town’s history and attributes, noting the architectural styles range from Federal through Victorian, Colonial, Classical and Neo-Classical revival to late 19th and 20th century styles.

Surry County, located across the James River from Jamestown, was established in 1652 and became the county seat in 1797. The town was incorporated in 1928.

During the Civil War, Confederate and Union troops occupied Surry at various times. It was after the war that Davis Town arose on the edge of the town of Surry.

Surry and the surrounding area experienced a small boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries due to the lumber industry in nearby Dendron, and from a small railroad that ran through the town. Another boom occurred after World War II due to the growth of agricultural processing plants, and later, the Surry nuclear power plant.

The town’s period of significance began in 1820, the approximate date of the oldest building in the historic district, Buzzard’s Nest on Church St., through 1965, when the most recent contributing buildings were constructed, according to DHR.

The historical area includes 193 contributing buildings, two contributing sites, Oakwood cemetery and The Oaks and one contributing structure, the water tower.

The courthouse complex includes the 1923 courthouse, the commissioner of revenue’s office, the old clerk’s office, a Confederate memorial and the general district court building.

Surry met two of several criteria required for inclusion on the National Register — property associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad pattern of U.S. history and the properties have distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction. {/mprestriction}