National Trust Declines to Renew Stables’ Current Lease Set to Expire in 2016 as it Considers Future Options for Land

Statement by David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is considering two alignment options for widening Route 1 in Northern Virginia, adjacent to Fort Belvoir. Both of these alternatives would negatively impact the historic resources on the Woodlawn historic property, a National Historic Landmark site owned by the privately funded, nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation. A privately-owned for profit business, Scanlin Farms, Inc., leases land and barns on Woodlawn. Although Scanlin Farms’ current lease is not due to expire until 2016, its representatives have asked the National Trust to commit to extending the current lease beyond 2016. The following is a statement by David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“The National Trust’s primary focus is to preserve the National Historic Landmark and to support the long-term sustainability of our historic sites, including Woodlawn and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House. As such, the National Trust must consider the best use of its property at the Woodlawn historic site in order to meet our obligations as stewards of the property and our buildings housed on the site.

“As a responsible organization, we are focused on Woodlawn’s future as a vibrant historic site, which includes consideration of all options for this land. Therefore, we will not renew Scanlin Farms’ current lease that expires in 2016. The lease is not sustainable and extending it would not be a prudent business decision. Once the effects of the highway project on Woodlawn are better understood, the National Trust will consider all options for the property, including proposals from public or private parties.

“The decision we ultimately make with this property will be consistent with the highest preservation standards, the public’s interests and the protection of the historic resources. The National Trust wants to work with the local community and county, state and federal government agencies to ensure the protection of the valuable historic resources in the Woodlawn Historic District and maximize the best potential uses of the Woodlawn property and buildings.”

About Woodlawn and the National Trust’s position on the highway expansion:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has come out in support of the “southern bypass” option as the most responsible widening plan to minimize harm to historic resources, relieve future traffic congestion, and improve transportation access to Fort Belvoir and the surrounding area.

Built in 1805, Woodlawn overlooks the Potomac River in Alexandria, Va. The grand house was a gift from George Washington to his nephew, Major Lawrence Lewis, and his wife Eleanor "Nelly" Custis. Before his death in 1799, Washington provided 2,000 acres of the Mount Vernon estate to the young couple and selected the site upon which the house was built. The property also includes Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House. Woodlawn was the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s first historic site.

 

 

 

 

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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