Local Historic District After State & National Title - WSET.com - ABC13

Local Historic District After State & National Title


Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg has some beautiful historic neighborhoods, and now one of them is after a bigger title that's very fitting.

At one time, the Pierce Street Renaissance District was home to some famous people. Poet Anne Spencer and Dr. Walter Johnson, the first minority allowed to practice medicine at Lynchburg General, called Pierce Street home.

Pierce Street is already a local historic neighborhood. Now, it's reaching to be a state and national historic district and maybe even a spot on the National Registrar of Historic Places.

Shaun Spencer Hester is inspired by her history.

"It's a loss for people, especially that live in this community - in the Lynchburg community as a whole - to not know about the people who lived here on Pierce Street," said Hester.

Hester's very own grandma was Anne Spencer, a famous African-American poet. She lived at 1313 Pierce. History lines the street.

Kevin Henry knows. He is a city planner.

"The story here is about the events that took place and the people that lived here," said Henry.

Pierce is the only historic district in the city named a local historic district and not a state and national one too. That could change. The state gave Lynchburg a grant to study Pierce and see if it meets the bar. For Hester, the street's famous residents are reason enough to have local, state and national rankings.

"To have so many who live within these two blocks who accomplished such wonderful things, such diverse things, is pretty amazing," said Hester.

A state and national title would mean bragging rights. But it would also mean money.

"Two, there's a financial incentive. You have the ability to apply for tax credits," said Henry.

That's federal and state tax credits. Money that can restore the neighborhood. Maybe kick-start a second Renaissance on Pierce.

"It's a city of great history," said Hester.

The state and federal tax credits are different beasts. The federal ones are only for income-producing properties. But single-family homes can tap in to the state tax credits. City council will give the grant the up or down Tuesday.

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