Around 1888, a Presbyterian church was built at 667 Front St. in Lovingston. Almost 150 years later it is getting a face lift. The church became the first Nelson Memorial Library in 1972 and later a residential property, all the while maintaining its church-like look.
In the late 1990s, the building was renovated for residential use. On Feb. 15, former Lynchburg resident Doug Cubbage purchased the building so it could be restored.
“It was slowly becoming one of the worst buildings in the downtown,” Luke Ramsey, of Ramsey Restoration, said on July 24. Ramsey Restoration has been hired to rehab the historic building. Ramsey said he plans on keeping the framing of the building from the late 1800s, while turning it into a livable place for Cubbage to use as a weekend getaway in historic downtown.
“It will look the same. We are keeping it as original as possible — just repairing what’s there,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said he’s restoring the building and maintaining its originality as much as possible because of the beautiful trusses across the ceiling that have been preserved over the years and the solid flooring Ramsey likes so much. However, parts of the building, like the old siding that has been removed, needs replacing.
“A lot is still good and should be-reused,” Ramsey said.
The building still has big windows allowing a lot of sunlight into the building and even part of the old bell-tower. Ramsey said both he and the new owner think it would be cool to get the bell tower back up, but it’s not a priority right now. For now, Ramsey is focusing on the inside of the building in desperate need of some work and turning the open area into a quaint living space.
Both Cubbage and Ramsey said residents in the area have been very receptive to the work being done and are excited to have the building with so much history put to use once more.
“All the neighbors are excited,” Ramsey said.
Cubbage said he is familiar with Nelson County from his time living in Lynchburg and working with the Virginia Department of Transportation and has loved going to the different establishments in the area. When he and his wife saw the old church was for sale he knew he wanted to buy it because of his interest in history. Cubbage said it was sold to him for around $40,000.
“Once it’s rehabbed I’m looking forward to coming back to the area most weekends and enjoying what Nelson has to offer,” Cubbage said.
Ramsey said although they don’t have a set timeline on when the project will be complete, it’s bound to be more of a long-term thing. Cubbage estimated about a year. Cubbage said he and his wife are also planning on taking advantage of the tax credit available for those living in areas with historic designation, like Lovingston.
“Hopefully we’ll get it up and back to being a good part of the county,” Cubbage said.
Erin Conway covers Nelson County for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5524.