Sou­venirs sought among Nash rub­ble

A for­mer owner’s fam­ily gets a door prize of a prized door from 207-year-old fallen Peters­burg struc­ture; oth­ers have asked for bricks

The Progress-Index - - FRONT PAGE - Sean Jones may be reached at 804-722-5172 or [email protected] progress-in­dex.com. By Sean Jones Staff Writer

PETERS­BURG – As the dust set­tled around the de­mo­li­tion of the John Nash Build­ing, rel­a­tives of one of the own­ers of the 207-yearold struc­ture own­ers were able to get a door prize — lit­er­ally — from the rub­ble.

Carolyn Tench Carter’s grand­fa­ther bought the Nash Build­ing in 1960 and passed it on to Carter’s dad in the 1960s. Carter and her cousin, Richard Wil­son, were given a sal­vaged door from the sec­ond story.

The Nash Build­ing, which sur­vived a great fire in Peters­burg as well as the Civil War, was torn down Tues­day morn­ing, a vic­tim ofage and years of dis­re­pair.

The de­ci­sion to take it down was prompted by last month's par­tial col­lapse of a wall. Neigh­bors re­ported that bricks con­tin­ued to fall as late as Christ­mas Day. Preser­va­tion­ists had hoped to save the build­ing, but the city de­cided its con­di­tion made it more of a pub­lic nui­sance than an his­toric land­mark. City Coun­cil voted last week to raze it.

Carter the­o­rized that if the door was sal­vaged from the sec­ond floor that it most likely came from the door­way lead­ing into the stair­well that went up to the third floor. The first floor had an iden­ti­cal door lead­ing into the stair­well, and she said that led her to be­lieve that her door is the one from the sec­ond story.

“I asked Mr. [Howard] Hines [city build­ing of­fi­cial] be­cause we came down here and I said, 'I’m not go­ing to get ar­rested, we don’t own the build­ing any­more so I can’t go in and take any­thing,'” she said.

“It’s some­thing that I try to do,” Hines said about sav­ing the old door for the cousins. “I guess it’s nos­tal­gia. The build­ing has been here for 200 years. It’s a shame to lose it.”

Carter plans on tak­ing the white door knob as her per­sonal sou­venir and giv­ing the rest of the door to her cousin, Wil­son, who owns The Trad­ing Post fur­ni­ture store on North Sy­camore Street. There he can care for the door and put it on dis­play.

Mean­while, oth­ers have stopped by the site at 127 Bank St. to see if they also could get sou­venirs from the buidling.

“I’ve had about 50 peo­ple ask me to save a brick for them,” Hines said.

Hines said that he wanted to per­son­ally do­nate a can­non­ball from the War of 1812 to the build­ing own­ers if the cam­paign to save it had ul­ti­mately been suc­cess­ful. Dur­ing the Siege of Peters­burg, the Nash Build­ing was struck on its east side by a can­non­ball, and the pro­jec­tile stayed in­side the wall for decades.

[SEAN JONES/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

Howard Hines, Peters­burg Build­ing Of­fi­cial, left, speaks with Carolyn Tench Carter and Richard Wil­son af­ter sal­vaging a door from the John Nash Build­ing, which their fam­ily owned and op­er­ated for nearly 50 years.

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