Asbury Church Project
ASBURY CHURCH UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 9, 2022
The Town Council of Middleburg took action at its September 8, 2022, meeting to retain ownership of the historic Asbury Church, located at 105 N. Jay Street, and to immediately update the stabilization plan of the church and move toward completing its restoration and reopening.
The Town was gifted the Asbury Church building in late 2014 and has already invested over $174,000 to stabilize the building and protect it from further deterioration. Since that time, the Town has sought partners interested in the adaptive restoration and reuse of the building. The Town Council expressed its gratitude for all the efforts and hard work of those who submitted proposals to the Town.
The Asbury Church was constructed in 1829 as the home of the Methodist Congregation in Middleburg. It served as a hospital and morgue in the Civil War and was subsequently donated to the African American Methodist Church in 1864. It became a central component of the African American community in Middleburg, also serving as the location of the school for African American children. Based on the significance of the property and input from the community, the Town has determined that the best pathway forward is to retain the building and move forward with an immediate plan for restoration that can be completed in the next 12-18 months.
As an initial step, the Town Council has: directed staff to update the stabilization plan for the Asbury Church, to include accounting for aspects of the prior stabilization plan that were not completed; authorized $50,000 toward this initial effort and any immediate repairs; and directed staff return to Council with the updated stabilization plan and estimated cost of activities to complete the components of the stabilization plan. Likely improvements include further stabilization of the foundation, repairs to the exterior and windows, repairs to the interior (in keeping with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for historic renovation), and site improvements for ADA access.
The Town Council will work with local historic and community groups to create an interpretive history of the Asbury Church, including a discussion of race relations in Middleburg, the brave men and women who brought integration to Middleburg, and the importance of historic preservation in Middleburg.
The Town will further develop ongoing partnerships with local entities interested in hosting events, community activities, and historic commemorations at the Asbury Church, to include the former congregants of the Asbury Church. The Town anticipates the church being available for community use, such as for small events and for use by small groups. The Town has committed to work with the Middleburg Museum Foundation and other local historic and preservation groups in these efforts.
“Today’s vote marks an important step in protecting and preserving one of the most historic buildings in Middleburg,” said Mayor Bridge Littleton. “The Town’s unexpected budget surplus in 2022 has allowed us to commit the funds needed for the restoration and long-term preservation and sustainability of the Asbury Church for the greater Middleburg community.”
The Town of Middleburg will engage in a full community effort to ensure that this historic property will serve the Middleburg community for generations to come.