Welcome to the Old West End’s new blog! This little venture is the result of the ingenuity of a few of our neighbors in an effort to draw attention to the benefits of living in the historic district. This marketing campaign is a multi-prong effort to eradicate blight while preserving Danville’s historic treasures, which include “perhaps the finest and most concentrated collection of Victorian and Edwardian residential architecture in the Commonwealth”, according to documents available from the National Register of Historic Places.
Danville was once home to the largest textile plant in the United States, as well as being a key center in the tobacco trade. As these businesses have closed their doors, the housing market has taken a hit. In the years since, we’ve seen some of our finest examples of historically significant architecture fall prey to neglect, decay, and demolition. When a group of residents addressed the city about the losses, officials in turn challenged us with the responsibility of finding people to buy these deserted homes. Rather than dismissing the idea as too difficult, two of our most enterprising neighbors, Paul Liepe and Steve Wilson, accepted the challenge. A great many of us, after all, are not from Danville originally, but were attracted to the area because of its rich supply of historic homes at affordable prices. While it’s true that many of these houses still require considerable attention, the city has begun an initiative to stabilize some of these homes, and a few have been completely renovated. Apart from the city’s efforts there are those of us who are so infatuated by these monuments to history, and to architecture as an art-form, that we have dedicated our own resources, as well as the proverbial (and at times quite literal) blood, sweat, and tears into restoring the homes we have been fortunate enough to call our own.
This marketing venture is a bit of an experiment. We know of no other like it in the country—and yes, we looked! Whether you are a retiree looking to buy your dream home, or a do-it-yourselfer dreaming of a rescue project, or simply someone moving into the area who knows that quality craftsmanship of homes built generations ago cannot be replicated, we believe you will be glad you considered Danville’s Old West End.
With the blog we’ll be introducing you to the neighborhood, as well as to some of our neighbors, their stories, what brought them here, and why they stay, as well as providing a catalog of houses currently available. We hope to provide links and information on local amenities, some historical tidbits, as well as our thoughts on historic preservation and the wonderful work that has been done here already.
Danville is a rich and vibrant city. It’s also a city of resilience. We hope you’ll consider buying your next home here and being a part of the exciting changes that are going on all around us. We look forward to getting to know you!