Program to Honor Village’s Heritage

imageThe Village Heritage Foundation is launching a new program to recognize the restoration and preservation of historic homes and other properties in Pinehurst.

“We want to promote historic properties by getting the community involved,” said MJ Pizzella, chairwoman of the foundation’s Historic Plague Program. “We hope it will encourage and reward those who have restored their property and upheld the the heritage of Pinehurst.”

Anyone in the community can nominate a property located in the village’s historic district that they think is deserving of recognition, Pizzella said. Property owners can also nominate their own property as well.

The deadline for nominations for the inaugural awards is May 14.

This the latest endeavor of the Village Heritage Foundation (VHF), which led efforts to restore the Fair Barn at the Pinehurst Harness Track and the creation of the Village Arboretum.

Pizzella said the idea for a program to promote historic preservation and educate the public about these “significant” properties actually came from VHF board member Jim Lewis, who is also chairman of the village’s Historic Preservation Commission. She said he is strong advocate of promoting the village’s unique historic heritage.

VHF board member Lesley Berkshire Bradley said the plaque program is a great way to achieve those goals. She said similar plaque programs have been successful in places such as Charleston, S.C., Alexandria, Va., and Wilmington, N.C.

“They are quite a statement on the value and importance of your home or property,” Bradley said. “It is quite sought after.”

Bradley said many of the historic cottages, homes and other structures in the village are well known. But she said there may be some hidden gems in the historic district.

“We don’t know what we don’t know,” said said. “We are hoping to learn some things we don’t know. Education is a big part of this.

“This will help bring attention to the importance of preserving and restoring historic properties. We hope it will lead to more people taking pride in their properties.”

Each year, the Historic Plaque Committee will select five to 10 properties “to recognize their special role in the history and development of Pinehurst.” It can include residences, businesses, institutional properties and public buildings.

The plaques will be presented in a ceremony similar to a “hall of fame induction.”

A building must be at least 90 years old to be considered. Other criteria include:

n Architectural integrity, the extent to which the original architecture of the building has been retained or restored.

n Role in the historic, social and cultural development of Pinehurst

n Special or unique architectural characteristics

n Association with iconic Pinehurst personalities, such as the Tufts family or Donald Ross.

All of the criteria, along with nomination forms available on VHF website at

Bradley and Pizzella said they hope this type of recognition will encourage others who own historic properties to preserve and restore them.

Bradley added that the plaque is “purely honorary and does not imply any development or construction restrictions on the property or any tax advantages.”

The committee developed a design for the plaque that incorporates a Pinehurst Country Club crest that was used on trophies and cups for various golf tournaments and a medallion. They wanted it to be be simple.

“Bingo,” Pizzella said of the design. “We have hit pay dirt. This is exactly what we want.”

She said Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst Resort, granted permission to use the crest design.

Bradley said the VHF assembled a “great” committee. In addition to Pizzella, the members include Stuart Mills, secretary; Audrey Moriarty, executive director, Given Memorial Library and Tufts Archives; Nancy Smith; Carty Davis; and Laura Byers, along with advisory members Molly Gwinn and Tessie Chao.

Bradley said Gwinn and Chao have expertise in historic preservation and will be crucial in selecting the first group of properties.

“We really need those experts,” she said.

Pizzella, Byers and Moriarty worked on the design of the bronze plaque. Moriarty researched various designs and also suggested using “Larson Cottage” on the prototype. While there is no Larson Cottage in the village, Sara Given Larson donated the money to start the library in the village.

Pizzella and Bradley say the plan is to award the first group of plaques in September. An anonymous donor has given the money to cover the costs of the first group of recipients. Pizzella said the hope is that each year moving forward, the recipients will contribute money for the next group.

“We hope they will pay it forward,” she said.

Members of the community can also make donations to the Historic Plaque Program. More information is also available on the VHF website at

Contact David Sinclair at (910) 693-2462 or