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Insurance office has been at the north edge of town since the '50s, but actually dates to 1820.
Once the living quarters attached to the original Fredericksburg National Bank downtown, it was moved brick-by-brick for some reason to the current location on Princess Anne street where it became an insurance company office. It is now on the market.Photographed on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. (Reza A. Marvashti / The Free Lance-Star) ------ 3 col color photos
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BY RICHARD AMRHINE
It sits there in the triangle that's formed by the intersection of Princess Anne Street and U.S. 1, just south of the Falmouth Bridge. Maybe you've wondered what that old, Federal-style, two-story brick building is doing there, and how it became a local Nationwide Insurance office.
As with so many old structures in and around Fredericksburg, there's an interesting story behind it.
The news about 2800 Princess Anne St. is that it's for sale. Owners Eugene and Gloria Bear have owned the building since 1994, and opened a Nationwide Insurance office there a few years later. They've decided to give up the business and have placed the building on the market. It's listed with Becky Glazebrook of Johnson & Glazebrook Inc. in Fredericksburg, with an asking price of $599,000.
If you think the building looks old, you're right. It dates to 1820, but has been in its present location only since the mid-1950s.
The building was constructed in 1820 as the kitchen dependency to what at the time was the Farmers Bank (later the National Bank of Fredericksburg, and now PNC Bank) at Princess Anne and George streets downtown. It served as the living quarters for the bank's president and family--something like a parsonage for a banker.
The bank property, including the kitchen dependency, became a Union headquarters in 1863, shortly after the first Battle of Fredericksburg. President Abraham Lincoln reportedly had visited Fredericksburg on May 23, 1862, and is said to have addressed troops and citizens from the bank's steps.
In 1955, according to historical files, bank officials decided that the building would be demolished to make room for more parking and drive-through banking services.
Little did those bankers know at the time that their cavalier attitude toward such a historic local structure, which had survived the hostilities of the 1860s and whose roots could be traced to the city's early days, would present Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Inc. with its first actual building preservation effort.