The Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia recently agreed to sell Talbot Park, including its antebellum centerpiece Talbot Hall, to a group that will restore the manor but raze the surrounding buildings to develop the property.
The buyers plan to build single-family homes in the 6.4-acre estate along the Lafayette River, which served as a Confederate camp during the Civil War. Even if the group intends to preserve Talbot Hall, the impending sale has stirred concerns among several parties, including the Talbot Hall Foundation. According to a report on HamptonRoads.com:
Jay Taylor, chairman of the foundation, said the web of utilities and driveways the houses will require raises questions about whether the manor house and its history can be preserved.
“It will retain little or nothing of its immediate surroundings and its historic river viewshed,” Taylor said, “effectively destroying its historic context and raising doubt as to whether preservation of the house alone is feasible or even worthwhile.”
At this point in time, no one can say for certain how developments in Talbot Park will turn out, and whether these will ultimately destroy the integrity and legacy of the centuries-old property. Heritage conservationists can only hope that the new owners will take measures to ensure that new constructions will not detract from the estate’s old Southern charm. At the very least, for instance, the developers could have new structures built in a style that will complement both the appearance and character of Talbot Hall.
In a city such as Norfolk, VA, it should not be difficult to find architects who can design modern residences following antebellum architecture. Nor should it be hard to hire specialists in roofing Norfolk, VA historical buildings, for example, who can procure and install materials appropriate for such a project.
All these professionals understand the issues and processes involved in restoring historic structures, ranging from dealing with aging woodwork to dealing with community codes. It is not unimaginable that their help will also be invaluable in other projects in line with heritage conservation.
Of course, the group will do best by fulfilling their promise to restore and preserve Talbot Hall. In this task, they can also certainly seek the assistance of a full-service Norfolk roofing team like The Roofing & Remodeling Company. The latter is not only skilled at repairing, restoring, and even replacing the exterior components of old houses, but also takes pride in helping the community appreciate and preserve architectural heritage.
(Article Information and Image from Talbot Hall site finds buyer on a family plan, HamptonRoads.com/The Virginian-Pilot, December 21, 2013)