New Historic Review Board Tackles Old School Issue Tonight

Old School entrance still bears sign number 23 (North Park Row). (Wave photo)

The address for the historic Old School has been changed from 23 Park Row to 423 Plum Street. The Plum Street side of the building has only a metal service door. The front of the school faces what was North Park Row, where once there was a circular drive now planned to be a private parking lot. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

June 18, 2013

A new group of Cape Charles residents, advised by a new-hire town planner, will meet at 4:30 p.m. today (Tuesday) to consider whether proposed exterior changes to the Old School building in Central Park meet historic guidelines.

The Town’s Historic District Review Board is authorized by the State of Virginia to exercise regulatory control over properties in an officially designated Historic District. The Old School is listed as a “contributing structure” by the National Register of Historic Places.

Although the Historic Review Board has regulatory authority, the Town Council has authority to overrule the Board, which is what happened last February when the Board refused to approve the modern glass balconies on Hotel Cape Charles. All but one member of the Historic Board resigned after being overruled by Town Council.

The new Board has already tasted controversy after denying a request by the owner of 621 Jefferson Avenue to remove a non-working chimney.

But that was a minor issue in comparison to the Old School in Central Park, which a developer plans to convert into a 17-unit apartment building. The plans are the subject of two lawsuits now under appeal to the State Supreme Court.

The developer, J. David McCormack, has applied for federal and state tax credit reimbursements of up to 45 percent of his costs.

According to McCormack, construction of the apartment building will not happen unless he gets the tax credits. But tax credit criteria are stringent, requiring that exterior details as well as interior spaces remain faithful to the original 1912 design.

McCormack has requested tax credits from both the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Park Service.

His application to the Virginia DHR was denied on November 21, 2012, for failure to retain historic features and spaces. [Read more…]


East Coast Pirate Crew Teaches History with a Sword

Mistress Fitchett (Sherry Williams), Capt. William Russell (Russell Williams), Mary Read (Betty Wilie), Capt. William Leonhardt, and Grace O'Malley (Page Walker) (Wave photo by Sarah Golibart)

Mistress Fitchett (Sherry Williams), Capt. William Russell (Russell Williams), Mary Read (Betty Wilie), Capt. William Leonhardt, and Grace O’Malley (Page Walker) (Wave photo by Sarah Golibart)

Cape Charles Wave

June 17, 2013

During the Tall Ships festival this past weekend, the town of Cape Charles was hopping with visitors from out of town. Wandering around the harbor, among the usual sounds of Cape Charles seagulls and wonderful nautical music, the sharp sounds of clanking swords and loud cries of “Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!” could be heard.

While walking along the harbor, the East Coast Pirate Crew drew many into their tents with their elaborate costumes, authentic pirate stories, and happy dispositions.

The East Coast Pirate Crew is a historical re-enactment group that finds joy in “portraying history accurately,” as Captain William Russel stated. After attending the first Tall Ships Festival last year, they were eager to return to the small town atmosphere and activity on Mason Avenue.

“The people are also so friendly,” added the Captain’s wife, Mistress Fitchett, otherwise known as Sherry Williams. [Read more…]