Sweet Briar seeks new home for Tusculum house

| May 2, 2013

Sweet Briar College has announced it is seeking a new home for Tusculum, the mid-18th-century house of Maria Crawford, the mother of College founder Indiana Fletcher Williams. The building was moved to safe storage on campus and subsequently purchased by Sweet Briar through private fundraising support.

Tusculum house in the 1960s

Tusculum house in the 1960s

“The College has been a diligent steward of Tusculum, stabilizing, restoring, preserving and cataloging the elements of this historic property,” said Jo Ellen Parker, president of Sweet Briar College. “However, despite ambitious fundraising efforts and after consultation with our partners at the Department of Historic Resources and Preservation Virginia, it has become clear we will not be able to reconstruct the building in the time frame agreed upon when Tusculum was acquired.”

The College is seeking proposals from select individuals or organizations with the capacity and interest in reconstructing the building in a historically sensitive manner, at a location similar to its original site, and ideally for educational or non-profit use.

“Although it is not the specific outcome first hoped for, a successful transfer would serve the original goals of this project by allowing this marvelous building to be reconstructed—and seen, and used—as soon as possible,” said Parker.

The Tusculum Institute, an educational and community outreach program dedicated to preserving and studying the region’s historic assets, will remain at the College.

“While we regret we were unable to rebuild the house as once planned, the programming and public outreach that lies at the core of the institute’s mission remains unchanged,” said Lynn Rainville, director of the Tusculum Institute. The next institute-sponsored event will be the annual Teaching with Historic Places workshop on June 15. This year’s theme, “Civil Rights in Education,” will incorporate local efforts to integrate schools in Central Virginia, including Sweet Briar.

To learn more about the history of the Tusculum house project or to view the request for proposals, visit the Tusculum Institute website.

Christy Jackson

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