Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Countless rodents and termites now homeless.

I was out of town on Friday, but Web producer Alex Russell sent me these images of the tiny old house at 1108 Winchester St. being torn down. If you read this, you know the city had hired a contractor to partially demolish this house. That plan was City Council’s way of trying to appease both historic preservationists–who wanted the house saved–and neighbors–who wanted the blight removed.

But when you don’t do maintenance on an old house for 15-plus years, it doesn’t hold up so well.

So when the contractor went in to start doing the work, it was discovered that the house was in a state of "serious structural decay," according to the message city Building Official Steve Smallwood left me about this Friday morning. He said the condition was so bad that the city had to order the immediate razing of the house. Like with the other work, the bill will go to the so-called owner, and a lien will be placed on that property to try to recover the cost. If the bill isn’t paid within two years, the house could go up for public auction.

For now, though, the result of the city’s first use of the spot blight powers the state gives it has been the demolition of a long-neglected house. I’m now looking into new developments on another spot blight case that has been in limbo for the past two years–the burned-out building at 1200 Prince Edward St. The ARB is set to discuss that property again at its meeting next Monday.

For now, here are a few of Alex’s photos of 1108 Winchester:

1108 Winchester St.