She’s saddened by demolition
Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
On Dec. 1, the Smithfield Town Council voted to allow demolition of the historic 1730 Thomas Pierce house. Town Council member Beth Haywood was the only dissenting vote. The request was from new owner Mr. Joseph Luter III, who was former chairman of Smithfield Foods, which was sold to a Chinese company.
This historic 1730 Thomas Pierce house was built before Monticello, and only 20 houses in the entire state of Virginia are older. Comment from Mr. Marc Wagner, architectural historian from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in Richmond, cited in a 1930 survey that there are slave and family burial grounds that may span from the 1700s to early 20th century along with many important archaeological sites. Manager /Senior Structural Engineer Mr. Roland McPherson had deemed it restorable. Interestingly noted, even Benedict Arnold had occupied this property.
Despite all this history, it is sorrowfully to be demolished. I had hoped the voices of 350 folks who signed a petition along with the diligent efforts of the Preserve Smithfield group formed five years ago and many others across our state to speak at Town Council meetings would have mattered. Plans for fundraising were in the works. It could have been a magnificent “jewel of history” in tourism to be seen from Main Street.
The Town of Smithfield has supported a new bike trail, boat ramp and other endeavors. I am sorry this piece of history was not supported .
A big “thank you” again to Town Council member Beth Haywood, Preserve Smithfield group and everyone who came and spoke and helped this most worthy cause.