Old Brick House, VA 2022
Old Brick House, VA 2022

Old Brick House, VA 2022

Old Brick House, VA 2022

Inconspicuously tucked away behind modern developments, Old Brick House, built circa 1685, is thought to be among the oldest in Virginia.

PROJECT PARTNEROld Brick House Foundation

SESSION DATES:  April 3-8

Photos courtesy of Old Brick House Foundation

Project Site Description & History

Located on land originally inhabited by Arrohatec and Appamattuck Nations in an area now called Conjurer’s Neck, Old Brick House is today among the oldest buildings in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Archaeological excavations have found artifacts dating to the prehistoric Middle and Late Woodland periods (500 B.C to 1600 A.D.). Today, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. European colonists first settled the area in 1620. In the year prior, more than twenty enslaved Africans were brought to colonial Virginia and sold to colonists. Given the geography and timeline it is highly likely the Old Brick House was constructed via enslaved labor.

According to the National Park Service, the area is named Conjurers Neck “because a Native American priest or healer, which the English called a “conjurer,” is thought to have lived there at one time.” A colonist named Richard Kennon purchased the property in 1677 and the Old Brick House construction was completed by 1685. In the late 18th century, ownership of the land passed out of the Kennon family and the area was divided into eight farms. The house was owned by several families over its centuries of existence, and was almost lost in a fire in 1879. The damage is still visible. NPS describes its recent history: “In 1990, it was deeded to the Conjurer’s Neck Homeowners’ Association, with ownership transferred to the Old Brick House Foundation in 2001. In 2003, both the house and the surrounding property were incorporated into the Conjurer’s Neck Archeological District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. …Today, the Old Brick House incorporates many architectural changes made over the years, including 18th century Flemish bond brickwork on the exterior.”

Location and Logistics

SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only  Site is RV/trailer accessible

We will camp right onsite at the grounds of Old Brick House! Showers are not available, however, volunteers may like to bring their own portable shower system. Those bringing RVs/trailers/campervans should prepare to dry-camp.

LOCATION:

ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Evidence of fire damage and repairs can be seen in the facade.

During this one-session project, we will be focusing on repairing the house’s porch.

Scope of Work

PHYSICAL DIFFICULTY: 

SCOPE OF WORK: HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers will learn the skills necessary to restore the porch of the Old Brick House.

  • Repairing wood elements on porch:  60%
  • Repair and replace brick support piers: 40%

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact volunteer@historicorps.org for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • HistoriCorps is committed to keeping our volunteers, staff, and project communities safe. All volunteers will be required to affirm that they will be fully vaccinated from the Covid-19 virus by the time their project begins. Read our Covid protocols here (updated October 2021).
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.
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