Historical Society joins effort to save house

Published 7:09 pm Monday, December 31, 2018

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Isle of Wight County Historical Society is joining Preserve Smithfield in its attempt to save the Wombwell house, threatened with demolition by the Town of Smithfield. 

The two groups have crafted a petition and so far have accumulated more than 100 signatures, said Albert Burckard, who is the secretary with the Historical Society.

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The petition reads as follows: 

“We request that the Town of Smithfield refrain from any further damage and destruction to the historic structure at 888 Main Street, Smithfield, Virginia, known as the Doctor Jordan Wombwell House. This traditional, vernacular “Tidewater Cottage” is named for the town’s first known resident physician. A recent investigation by the senior historian of the Eastern Region Preservation Office, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, indicates a circa 1820 construction date, making it one of the older and more significant extant homes now within the Smithfield Town limits. Additionally, documents and photographs indicate that a Wombwell family cemetery may be located very close to the house. This possibility should be fully explored before any further harm is done to the property.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

“Or reply to the website www.iwchs.com or to albert.b@charter.net or call 613-6183 to leave “Yes” message and name.

“All respondents will be added by name to the petition.”

The Wombwell house has the misfortune of being located next to what is now the Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex. Town officials are concerned that the abandoned house will be a lure, as well as a danger, to children at the complex. 

The town had invited interested parties to submit plans to have the house moved, but received no viable offers. 

Preserve Smithfield has asked the town to refrain from tearing the house down until Dec. 31, 2019.  {/mprestriction}