Thursday, September 16, 2010

HU professor works to preserve historic area churches

HU professor works to preserve historic area churches

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Norfolk, Va.

St. Peter's features 19th century Gothic style architecture.

This summer Dr. Natalie Robertson, HU associate professor of political science and history, advocated to have St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk, Va., placed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register. Located at 1625 Brown Ave., the church was nominated to the registers based upon her research and completion of the formal nomination process.

According to Robertson, typically churches are nominated to the registers for their age and their distinctive architectural qualities. “It is important to get churches listed on the registers because they preserve distinctive architectural styles and they embody important historical and cultural information about the larger American or African-American contexts out of which they emerged,” said Robertson.

While Saint James Holiness Church of Christ Disciples currently occupies the edifice, the church was placed on the registers under its historic name. St. Peter’s was a mission of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk and served as the borough church for the Elizabeth River Parish. Placed on the registers for its architecture, the church is an outstanding example of the Gothic style of architecture that was prominent in the 19th century. The church has maintained its architectural integrity for more than 120 years and is associated historically with the Bramble and Dyson families of Norfolk.

This is the second church that Robertson has placed on the National Register and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The first was Zion Poplars Baptist Church in Gloucester, Va.

- Alison L. Phillips

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