Conserving History to Provide for the Future

by Jenn Montrose, Marketing and Technology Specialist- Human Resources

Henrico County is always looking towards the future. Recently, this has meant preserving a piece of history so future generations can learn and enjoy our country’s past. Through a $1.5-million contribution, Henrico County now maintains over 400 acres of the historic Malvern Hill Farm. This project has been a collaborative effort for many years and the successful completion of the project is thanks to multiple County employees, departments and the County Manager.

Malvern Hill Farm had been in the Ferguson family since the 1930’s. Earlier this year, a local non-profit organization, Capital Region Land Conservancy (CRLC), bought it from them to preserve its history. “This is extremely valuable property,” said Deputy County Manager for Community Development Randy Silber, “Because all three of the American battles—War of 1812, Revolutionary War and the Civil War—had some engagements of action on the Malvern Hill property. It is the only land in the United States that can say that.” Also, since these battles, the Malvern Hill property has remained virtually untouched, which is a huge bonus for the historical preservation of the land and almost unheard of when it comes to historic sites in the United States.

“We would like to be able to simply use the property for historical interpretation purposes,” said Silber. When looking to the future for this property, changes, if any, would be very minimal due to a Department of Historic Resources Conservation easement on the land. This easement makes it so that only two percent of the entire property can be developed. Hiking and biking trails, historical interpretive centers, picnic shelters, parking and open fields will be the principal uses for the land. Creating and maintaining a space that people can use to enjoy the outdoors along with some history is less common these days, so the Malvern Hill property will be a breath of fresh air for everyone. A small portion of the property will be made into a canoe and kayak landing area, restrooms and parking. The Recreation and Parks Department will maintain the grounds after completion. Not only will residents be able to enjoy this land, but the employees of Henrico County as well.

“The County is always looking to the future to provide a quality living environment for residents. It also adds value to anyone who lives and works in the County,” said Silber. So, whether you enjoy the open fields of Malvern Hill or venture into the nearby National Park Services property, you will not only be experiencing a part of history, but a preserved part of our Nation’s future. That is an accomplishment worth contributing towards.