The Dante Downtown Historic District. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Sites in Southwest Virginia added to state landmarks register

The state Board of Historic Resources has added 11 sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register, including several in Southwest Virginia.

The Dante Downtown Historic District in Russell County is a rare surviving example of a company coal town from the early 20th century, according to a news release announcing the additions to the register.

The town was originally known as Turkey Foot and then developed into Dante, first by the Dawson Coal Co. in 1903. By 1950, the downtown area comprised a company store, hotel, jail, post office, commercial building housing a pharmacy and more.

Also added to the list is the Southwestern State Hospital Tubercular Building in Smyth County, which stands on the campus of what is now known as the Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute.

The hospital opened in 1887 as one of four mental health care hospitals in the state, according to the news release. Use of the building for tuberculosis care was discontinued in 1969. The building is currently being considered as a new home for the Appalachian Center for Hope, a residential drug treatment center.

Other sites added to the register:

  • The Charlottesville Downtown Mall Historic District, a pedestrianized segment of Main Street located at the heart of Charlottesville’s commercial district.
  • Eyreville, an estate in Northampton County that includes an archaeological site believed to be the oldest colonial site to be excavated on the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia peninsula to date.
  • The Shenvalee Golf Resort in New Market in Shenandoah County, which includes a golf course, lodge, motel and other buildings dating primarily from 1926 to 1972.
  • The De Paul Hospital Complex Historic District in Norfolk, a large hospital representative of multiple generations of health care developments and service to the Norfolk community.
  • Black Oak Spring, a two-story brick house in Augusta County dating to circa 1820.
  • Dameron Cottage in the town of Amherst, a rare example of a Rustic Revival-style dwelling constructed around 1890.
  • Cherry Grove, a frame dwelling in King William County that was constructed starting in 1792 and is the only known example of Boston-born painter Daniel T. Rea’s decorative work in Virginia.
  • The Hermitage Road Warehouse Historic District in Richmond is associated with the city’s industrial growth and history from the early to mid-20th century. The district was originally listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 2014 and was expanded this year.
  • The 11-story, 200-unit High-Rise for the Elderly in Richmond was built in 1971 by the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority as its first high-rise, purpose-built residential tower for senior citizens.

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Roanoke College appoints Reed VP for student success and the Roanoke experience

Roanoke College has named Brian Reed as the inaugural vice president for student success and the Roanoke experience, effective Aug. 14.

Reed will be responsible for shaping a “student-ready, student-first” culture at Roanoke College and providing leadership for an integrated and inclusive student-success experience at the college, according to a news release announcing his appointment.

Functions within the new Student Success Division include the dean of students office, new-student and transition programs; identity-based programming and support; advocacy, student conduct and crisis management; housing and residence life; health and well-being; campus activities, student organizations and leadership development; student success center; campus safety; civic engagement; spiritual life; and purpose, life and career exploration.

Reed is currently associate vice provost for student success and campus life at the University of Montana. He also spent nearly a decade at Dartmouth College, including stints as assistant dean of undergraduate students and associate dean for student academic support services. 

Reed received his bachelor’s degree from Berea College, master’s degree from Appalachian State University and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.

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Virginia State Parks launches paddling rewards program

Thirty-one Virginia state parks are now offering Wandering Waters Paddle Quest, a self-paced program that rewards people for their time spent on the water.  

Visitors can explore the water through a mixture of ranger-guided programs and self-led adventures.  

To earn rewards, visitors must create an account on the State Park Adventures system and log each paddle. Prizes are given in increments and include a sticker, patch, mesh gear bag and cellphone dry bag. Those who complete the challenge by paddling at all 31 parks also receive a Virginia State Parks certificate, according to a news release about the program.

The state also offers Trail Quest, a self-paced program that offers rewards for visiting state park. For more information about either program, go to