Area nonprofit uses grant money to revitalize the historic village of Esmont

Updated: Jan. 29, 2020 at 5:03 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - The revitalization of one Albemarle County community is underway with plans to establish a wildlife refuge and rebuild businesses - but it won’t come cheap.

Friends of Esmont is a nonprofit working to rejuvenate the historic Esmont Village. The group has identified seven projects to fulfill this mission.

The group will be rebuilding the Esmont Depot, creating a wildlife wetland, and the restoration of historic houses. Friends of Esmont also plans to also restore the Purvis Store as a marketplace for local arts and crafts.

Years ago, Esmont was a bustling village with a bank, several thriving general stores, and a railroad. Now there is a church, a few homes, a post office, and several other buildings.

Friends of Esmont just received two grants to help their goals. One grant, funded by Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band, will help create a trail connecting Esmont to Alberene. The other grant, from the Virginia Humanities of Charlottesville, is for researching the area’s diverse history.

"Writing the history, the educational history, of African Americans because Yancey was a school for the African American children during segregation,” Peggy Purvis Denby, with Friends of Esmont, said.

They also have another historian sifting through files at the special collections library at UVA to understand write about the history of the area.

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