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Fighting for piece of history page 5
Area battlefields brace for encroaching growth and development

 Preservation of farmland surrounding Elwood mansion in the Wilderness battlefield is a National Park Service priority.

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Date published: 1/4/2004

By RUSTY DENNEN

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Said Campi, "Our priority remains trying to hammer out a compromise on the Mullins property and to see some of that preserved."

He said the trust earlier this year tried to buy about 80 acres next to the Spotsylvania battlefield. The land was purchased by the Silver Cos., the Fredericksburg area's largest developer.

Still, "What we're trying to do is to forge compromises" with the development industry, Campi said.

In 2002, developers of the proposed Whitehall project along Brock Road in Spotsylvania met with Park Service officials and members of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust. They agreed to donate 181 acres along Jackson Trail East to the trust.

Another example is in Prince William County, where Dallas-based Centex Homes decided in March to give 127 acres of a 341-acre tract for a battlefield park at Bristoe Station. The land, southwest of Manassas, was the scene of fighting in 1862 and 1863 and was unprotected by the county, the state government or the Park Service.

Centex sought out a number of preservation groups when it announced its development plans there.

Centex spokesman Neil Devroy said the approach makes good business sense. In the case of Bristoe Station, the battlefield connection is a marketing tool.

"You have the opportunity to live in an area that has historical significance, at the same time knowing that your community is preserving it. That is very attractive to buyers."

To reach RUSTY DENNEN: 540/374-5431 rdennen@freelancestar.com


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