Ron Chapman and his husband moved to Mineral last fall into one of the many registered historic buildings in town. Chapman is now heading up the newly reinstated Mineral Historical Foundation.
The town previously had a historic foundation, but it dissolved after the head of the organization passed away a few years ago. The foundation arranged for its assets to be transferred to the Louisa County Historical Society.
Chapman was surprised not only to learn that the foundation had existed, but that his house, like many in town, were on both state and national historic registries.
“There’s a vast amount of money out there for historic towns, but no one [in Mineral] is looking into it or applying for it,” he said.
Chapman began researching and putting together a proposal which he presented to the Mineral Town Council at their Sept. 13 meeting, asking them to “recognize and support the creation and mission of the Town of Mineral Historical Foundation.” Council unanimously voted to support the organization.
“I wasn’t prepared for the council to unanimously vote to recognize the new creation of this foundation, and when they did, I kind of had to sit down for a moment and go, ‘Okay, this is real.’” he said.
Chapman has also had little issue in recruiting people to help volunteer for the foundation, getting several responses on a Facebook post he made about the foundation following the council’s vote. Chapman and some of the people who responded will form the foundation’s board and will hold their first meeting in the next couple of weeks to lay out the goals for the organization.
Chapman’s main goal for the foundation is that it be “based on education and preservation” for the town, informing people of the history of the town and working to preserve as many of the town’s historic homes and buildings as possible.
One of the first objectives, he feels, should be confirming that the list of historic buildings registered with both the state and national historic registries is accurate and up to date. There are currently more than 200 buildings registered, but the list hasn’t been updated in some time, and Chapman knows of at least one building that’s on there that isn’t currently standing.
“After we moved in, we tore down a shed on our property that was listed,” he said. “We tore it down before we realized, but I see a lot of people moving into Mineral, and they may not know that the rickety shed in their backyard has historic significance and is keeping Mineral on a national or state historic registry.”
Chapman also plans to have the foundation apply for 501C3 non-profit status and be a strictly volunteer organization. As for long-term plans, he hopes to eventually be able to find a space to display artifacts from the town history. There is currently a small display in the town hall which Chapman hopes to expand, but he would like to one day have a building similar to Louisa’s Sargeant Museum to set up educational displays.
Chapman was recently hired by the town to be the Special Projects Coordinator and Town Planner, and through that position he will be able to research and apply for grants that will help the town and the foundation meet their goals of preserving the town’s history.
“I never thought I’d be creating my own historic foundation, but I’m excited to see it become something that will help Mineral thrive,” he said.
Last updated on Oct. 1 at 3:51 p.m.