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NYT: Historic homes in financial crisis; many becoming available for private purchase

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-31-06 12:23 PM
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NYT: Historic homes in financial crisis; many becoming available for private purchase
Homes Sell, and History Goes Private
Published: December 31, 2006

(Andrew Councill for The New York Times)
Actors in Williamsburg recreate scenes from the American Revolution.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. The old mahogany furniture is shrouded in white dust covers, and the espaliered gardens overlooking the James River have gone to seed. Colonial Williamsburg is selling Carters Grove, an imposing 18th-century Georgian mansion and one of the most renowned plantations in Virginia....


The sale by Williamsburg, the countrys biggest and most prestigious living history museum, has riveted preservationists attention on the plight of hundreds of other house museums across the country that have either closed or are struggling to stay open in the face of dwindling interest, diminished staff and lack of endowment dollars.

Robert E. Lees boyhood home in Alexandria, Va., once a must see in AAA guidebooks, is back in private hands, its stately magnolias and elegant federal rooms visible only by virtual tour. In Odessa, Del., six important buildings owned by Winterthur, the museum of antiques collected by Henry Francis duPont, were mothballed for several years and recently regifted to the family that donated them.

In an escalating debate, some preservation experts argue that the best way to save Americas most precarious houses may be to sell them to those who can afford to restore them, or at least keep them up, as private residences....


Simply put, there may be too many antique houses, with too many similarly furnished living rooms, too few docents left to show them off, and too many families taking advantage of cheaper airfares to show their children places like Versailles, where tourism is increasing....
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MountainLaurel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-09-07 09:28 PM
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1. Interesting
Edited on Tue Jan-09-07 09:34 PM by MountainLaurel
I was a volunteer and an occasional employee (keeping an eye on the silver during parties) at the Lee boyhood home when it was purchased. I remember the shock of learning that it had been sold: We just got a letter one day, I believe after it had already happened, thanking us for our service. Only the director knew about what was happening; no one else had any idea. I had just had a costume made about a month before: I think I wore it for one Halloween event and that was it. There was some movement led by local preservationists to buy it back, but raising a few million dollars in a month just wasn't going to happen.
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InkAddict Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-01-08 01:15 AM
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2. This caught my eye on Craig's list the other day
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