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December 19, 2007

CW achieves protected sale of Carter's Grove

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has transferred ownership of Carter’s Grove Plantation, including the Georgian style mansion and 400 acres that are subject to a conservation easement, as well as an additional 76 acres adjoining the property. Halsey Minor, a Virginia native and successful entrepreneur, has purchased the property for $15.3 million. He intends to use the site as a residence and as a center for a thoroughbred horse breeding program.

The conservation easement is co-held by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

"The easement reflects the Foundation’s fundamental commitment to protect and preserve the mansion, maintain the integrity of the mansion’s view shed and protect the archaeological sites on the property,” said Colin Campbell, chairman and president of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

In 2006, the Foundation announced it would assure the preservation of Carter’s Grove by offering it for sale subject to restrictions that would protect the site’s historic, architectural, visual, archaeological and environmental resources. The restrictions prohibit residential and commercial development of the property.

The decision to pursue sale of the property with restrictions was based on a thorough evaluation of Carter’s Grove’s relevance to Colonial Williamsburg’s interpretive focus on the story of citizenship and becoming Americans in the 18th century. The Historic Area is the principal setting for this story, led by the presentation and interpretation of Revolutionary War-era Williamsburg. Carter’s Grove, with its multiple stories spanning some four centuries, is not central to this strategic focus.

The Carter’s Grove Plantation site is a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register. The property is located along the James River, eight miles southeast of Williamsburg, Va.

“The transfer of this property to private ownership, with stewardship governed by the terms of an easement, is the best approach to assure long term protection of the property,” said Mr. Campbell. “The transfer of a historically significant property from institutional ownership to private ownership is of great interest to the historic preservation and conservation community. We believe this is an appropriate model.”

In developing the easement, Colonial Williamsburg staff consulted with a broad range of preservation organizations and with other knowledgeable individuals.

“I have long admired Carter’s Grove and I am keenly aware of the historical significance of the property,” said Mr. Minor, an anthropology graduate of the University of Virginia. “I feel honored to be given the opportunity to take over its stewardship. I have three simple goals: to provide for the preservation of the property, its structures and historical artifacts; enrich the understanding of Carter’s Grove by developing additional research programs that complement those previously performed by Colonial Williamsburg; and to disseminate the newly gathered information so that we may add to the understanding of this historical treasure and its surrounding area and ultimately provide for a richer understanding of American history.”

“Halsey Minor’s respect for the property, his determination to protect it for the long term and his intended use are clear indications that he will be a fine steward of Carter’s Grove,” said Mr. Campbell.

Carter’s Grove also contains the site of an 18th-century slave quarter which the Foundation will memorialize through the placement of a small monument and plaque at the site.

Proceeds from the sale of the property will support Colonial Williamsburg’s educational programs, including an anticipated expansion of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

"I am especially grateful to the Colonial Williamsburg team and our consulting partners led by Robert Taylor, senior vice president, finance and administration, for their careful, energetic approach to achieving this important sale as well as for their consistent focus on the long term protection of this historic landmark," said Mr. Campbell. "Their concern for honoring preservation values was evident throughout the sale process and has served the Foundation and the long term stewardship of Carter's Grove exceedingly well."

Members of the team include Edward Chappell, director of architectural research; Victoria Gussman, director of property planning and management; Ronald Hurst, chief curator and vice president, collections and museums; and Douglas Horne and Amanda Medori Hallauer of D. R. Horne & Company, Arlington, Va., experts in protecting historic properties who served as consultants to Colonial Williamsburg.

Statement from G. Robert (“Bob”) Lee, executive director, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation:

“The Virginia Outdoors Foundation is pleased to partner with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources to protect Carter’s Grove, one of the Commonwealth’s outstanding cultural heritage resources. We commend Colonial Williamsburg for permanently protecting this significant historic property for the benefit of current and future generations.”

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation was created by the General Assembly of Virginia in 1966 “to promote the preservation of open space lands and to encourage private gifts of money, securities, land or other property to preserve the natural, scenic, historic, open-space and recreational areas of the Commonwealth." The primary mechanism for accomplishing VOF’s mission is through open-space easements. Open-space easements allow land to continue to be privately owned but restricted to serve and protect land for the public good. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation currently holds more than 2,000 conservation easements on nearly 406,000 acres in perpetuity, and owns approximately 3,500 acres of conserved land.

Statement from Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, director of the Department of Historic Resources:

“We have been honored to work with Colonial Williamsburg to provide for the preservation of one of Virginia’s master works. Carter’s Grove joins 433 other premier properties protected by the preservation easements, and we are excited to work with its new steward to ensure its continued use and vitality.”

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, is responsible for fostering, encouraging and supporting the stewardship and use of Virginia's significant architectural, archaeological and cultural resources.

Media Contact:
Tom Shrout
(757) 220-7265