Friday, September 01, 2006

Lost Communities of Virginia

Virginia Tech's outreach program of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, the Community Design Assistance Center, is working to publish a book featuring 30 once-thriving communities across the Commonwealth that no longer hold the same prestige. Lost Communities of Virginia explores places like Mouth of Wilson, Stonega, Derby and Mendota, all in Appalachia, as well as other towns throughout Virginia. Despite the geographic differences, all of these communities are bound by one demographic theme. At one point, they were the economic and social centers of their localized regions. Today, they are either ghost towns from industry closings, being by-passed by larger travel corridors or the victim of urban sprawl, losing their identity all together.

[Stonega, Virginia; circa 2002; Photo by K. Sparenborg]

The project uses black and white photographs and interviews with long-time residents to introduce the reader to each community. Former CDAC intern, Kirsten Sparenborg, photographed the communities, collected oral histories, and authored the book, which will be published in the Fall of 2007. For now, we only have the touring photographic exhibit (which is not on display at the moment) and postcards featuring the photos.

Be sure to explore some of the CDAC current and other past projects, listed on their web-page, to see what one group is doing to preserve and enhance our region.


Jeremy Peters said...

I enjoyed this article Mr. Mason! There are several communities like this in northern and western parts Wise Co. that simply no longer exist. Many were lost when the coal beneath the communities started being extracted.

avalone said...

great article my parents are from that area, my dad when he was my age lived for a time in moneta, & my mom lived in rocky mount, & there's another lost town i can't remember the name of the town but you go on 220 to martinsville it's an abonded coal & Textile town now dead,

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