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Historic Caroline house needs help
Caroline plantation house on preservation group’s list of historic sites endangered by sprawl

Date published: 5/25/2005


A deteriorating 18th-century plantation house in Caroline County is one of 11 sites across Virginia on a state preservation group’s list of threatened historic properties.

Hayfield, a brick Georgian-style mansion on the Rappahannock River off U.S. 17, is on the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities’ “Most Endangered Sites in Virginia” list, released Monday.

“The intention is to help raise awareness, to encourage debate and discussion and to galvanize support for preservation,” Elizabeth S. Kostelny, APVA executive director, said yesterday.

Built around 1750, the house is on a 352-acre farm now owned by Aggregate Industries, an international mining firm based in the United Kingdom.

The house was built by Lawrence Battaile and was part of an earlier English land grant to John Battaile. According to an APVA brochure, Hayfield was visited by Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson during the Civil War.

The house “looks like it’s been abandoned for the better part of 20 years,” Kostelny said. The structure’s condition is a classic case of “demolition by neglect.”

Though deteriorating, the interior woodwork seems to be intact, she said. “You’ve got some nice woodwork on the interior hall.”

The front portico dates from 1916, and two additions were built in the 1800s. Outbuildings dating from the 20th century are also on the property, along with an extensive boxwood garden.

Hayfield is located about 10 miles west of Port Royal, about two miles east of the Spotsylvania County line.

Kostelny said that paperwork was partially completed to nominate Hayfield for the National Register of Historic Places, “but that was abandoned due to objections or lack of cooperation of the corporate owners.” The national register, administered by the National Park Service, is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Several nearby historic houses in Caroline—Moss Neck, Santee and Prospect Hill—are on that list.

Richard Freedman, director of real estate and permitting for Aggregate Industries in Greenbelt, Md., said the company acquired Hayfield in 1997 from another sand-and-gravel mining firm, Solite Corp.

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