02 October 2013
The long-awaited work on the Pleasant Grove manor house is underway.
Parks and Recreation Director Jason Smith showed off the progress to the Fluvanna Review on Friday, (Sept. 20).
“This is going to be fantastic,” Smith said of the 1854 Haden House. “So far, one month into it, we’re on budget.”
Smith said he expects the work, which is being done by Daniel and Company Contractors will be finished in April. Daniel and Company are the contractors who restored the Virginia Executive Mansion and Richmond’s Main Street Station, according to its website. In February, the Board of Supervisors voted to award the contractor $948,000, the lowest bid, to do the work.
The plans include an addition to the back of the three-story red brick house that will contain an elevator, bathrooms and a catering or warming kitchen.
Evidence of that addition can be seen as ground has been excavated and wooden buttress-like forms are attached to the main house’s foundation.
Farther behind that addition, north of the white fence, footers have been poured for the comfort station. A 30-car parking lot will be in the same area.
In the backyard between the addition and the parking lot, plans call for a formal garden area and a small pavilion that could be used for outdoor events.
Since 2007, a public-private partnership between the county and the Fluvanna Heritage Trail Foundation and the Fluvanna Historical Society raised $735,750 to restore the house and establish a Fluvanna County Visitor’s Center at the site. The center will have offices and rotating historical and art exhibits. Of the funds, the county forked over $150,000; all other funding came from grants.
The English basement (ground floor) will house exhibit areas and a presentation room. Because the house will be a hub for preservation, showing a link between plantation life and the nearby Rivanna River Canal Navigation system, the main floor of the existing house will house a permanent display detailing that system.
On that same floor will be the Visitor’s Center.
The top floor is dedicated to office space.
Recently, Marta Castro and William Palamco, who said they worked for Aveteco, stood in the east room of the ground floor re-glazing the home’s three-over-three paned, double hung windows.
Plans also include improving the exterior to enhance the scenic view from Rt. 53. There will be a circular drive leading to a formal boxwood-edged entry walk to the house.
Smith said the grounds around the mansion will be alive with visitors as three festivals are scheduled on back-to-back-to-back weekends: The Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce Wine Festival on Sept. 28; Old Farm Day on Oct. 5; and the Apple Harvest Trail Run on Oct. 12.