Freemason Street Area Association
Awarded Senate Joint Resolution!
On May 21st at the monthly civic league meeting, Senator Lynwood Lewis and Delegate Matthew James presented Jack Kavanaugh and the Freemason Street Area Association with Senate Joint Resolution No 187. This proclamation to the association is in recognition of the national award for the 10-best neighbors in the country Freemason received and listed the many fine qualities the neighborhood enjoys. A photo of the document is seen below. You can click on the photo to view a larger image.
National Group Names West Freemason a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2013
West Freemason a Top 10 Great Neighborhood for 2013
Noted for Architecture, Local Activism, $150 Million Revitalization
The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of the city’s West Freemason Neighborhood as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2013. Each year during National Community Planning Month APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces to highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.
APA singled out West Freemason for its historic Colonial architecture, community activism that prevented a proposed freeway through the neighborhood, planning efforts to protect the neighborhood’s character and identity, and ongoing revitalization efforts that increased property values in the neighborhood to more than $2 billion since 1990.
“This is a tremendous honor for the City of Norfolk and the West Freemason neighborhood,” said Mayor Paul D. Fraim. “Norfolk has worked hard to preserve our historic foundations while building on innovation. It’s what makes this city special and we’re thrilled the American Planning Association acknowledges our efforts,” he added.
“West Freemason offers a record of architecture dating back to Colonial times,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “Residents recognized their neighborhood’s historical significance and, working with the city, secured measures that ensure West Freemason’s unique character remains intact,” he added.
West Freemason was the first neighborhood within Norfolk’s city limits to be rebuilt, in the late 1700s, after the city was nearly completely destroyed during the Revolutionary War. Responding to a proposal in the 1960s to build a waterfront freeway through the neighborhood, West Freemason’s residents worked together with local authorities to save the neighborhood’s historic infrastructure – including the city’s the oldest surviving cobblestone paving and granite curbs.
The Freemason Street Area Association, Inc. was founded in 1976 with its purpose to be exclusively public and charitable. The mission of the non-profit organization holds steadfast: to establish, operate and maintain a civic organization which will promote neighborly fellowship and community involvement; to promote citizen education, participation and civic responsibility relating to the preservation, maintenance, safety, health and welfare of the Freemason Street area and the City of Norfolk; and support tax-exempt organizations as approved by the Board of Directors.
The Freemason Historic District is one of Norfolk’s most fascinating areas, both from an historic and an architectural point of view. It has been recognized by the federal government, which declared it one of the first historic districts in Virginia and entered it on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Today the District contains the majority of pre-Civil War structures remaining in Norfolk and gives visitors a rare glimpse into 19th century life as they stroll the cobble-stone streets.
In 1998, members of the Freemason Street Area Association were instrumental in founding the Friends of the Pagoda and Oriental Garden Foundation which provides assistance to the City of Norfolk for the preservation of the Marine Observation Tower (Pagoda) and development of an Oriental Garden as an historic landmark on Norfolk’s waterfront.
Significant neighborhood activity includes the Pagoda & Garden LightFest and the Holiday Home Tour in the Freemason Historic Area. These events provide an opportunity for many visitors to discover and enjoy this unique neighborhood.