Altavista arose in the late 19th century, soon after the regional Virginian Railway extended an east-west line, intersecting with the Southern Railway, a major east coast corridor. The Lane brothers, realizing the commercial opportunity, purchased 2,000 acres at the junction, and proceeded to build Altavista and the Lane Home Furnishings from a fledgling cedar chest factory.
Altavista is at a crossroads again. Recognizing another opportunity, the town has leveraged its local heritage as an economic development tool, designating the first historic district in Altavista.
On March 18 the State Review Board and Historic Resources Board, both part of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR), approved Altavista’s historic district nomination for the Virginia Landmarks Register. Next the nomination will be sent to the National Park Service for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Being listed on the registers makes the contributing properties eligible for historic rehabilitation tax credits, an important incentive for adaptive-reuse of older buildings and stimulating revitalization.
The historic district covers 14 acres of the central business district and includes commercial and government buildings and churches that reflect architectural styles representative of their respective periods from the early 20th century through to the 1960s. Although there are no residential buildings in the district, the tax credit can be used for upper-story housing renovation.
Altavista On Track (AOT) Executive Director Jo Kelley and Dan Witt, assistant town manager and AOT Design Committee chairman, partnered to complete the VDHR Survey and Planning Cost Share Grant, which helped secure a consultant and complete the forms, photographs and mapping for the nomination. Jo and AOT volunteers also helped to gather documentation for the consultant, Debra McClane.
Congratulations to the Town of Altavista and AOT!