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19th-Century Farmhouse to be Moved for Newspaper Plant

July 14, 1990

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Preservationists are unhappy over plans by Richmond Newspapers Inc. to dismantle and move a 19th-century farmhouse that is standing in the way of the company’s $195 million production plant.

″If that decision is carried out, it will prove to be a very unpopular one,″ said Robert B. Giles, an official with one of 12 Richmond-area historical groups battling the company over the house’s fate.

RNI announced Thursday that Lockwood, the suburban Hanover County farmhouse that was Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters for four days in 1864, will be dismantled and moved to a new site 12 miles north.

The house, built in the early 1800s, stands within 50 feet of where RNI is building its new production plant.

RNI and its parent company, Media General Inc., said the house will be given to a Richmond couple who have signed an agreement to reconstruct it.

The estimated cost of the project is more than $50,000. RNI will provide a grant up to $50,000 once the reconstruction begins, said J. Stewart Bryan III, publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Richmond News Leader.

″This will ensure the continuity of a family owning and living in this house,″ said Bryan, who also is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Media General. ″We think its location is the right location.″

That’s not satisfactory to Giles, vice president of the William Byrd Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

″As long as the house is still standing, we will carry on what we envision to be our role to enlighten the public as to the importance of the house,″ Giles said. ″It is a concern to a great many people.″

Lee stayed at the house recuperating from dysentery while planning the Battle of Cold Harbor.

Bryan said the heritage of the house, ″if in fact it has a heritage, is not so much as a place where General Lee was sick for four days, but its heritage is that of a country farm house. We are much gratified that its future will also be just that - a house that will be lived in.″

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