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National Trust Names Rassawek to List of Most Endangered Historic Sites

Mallory Noe-Payne



The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named its annual list of the most endangered historic sites in the country, and it includes the historic capital of the Monacan Indian Nation in central Virginia. 

The ancient city Rassawek used to sit at the intersection of the Rivanna and James Rivers in Fluvanna County. The Monacan Indian Nation doesn’t own the land and local county officials have been considering the site for a water pump they say is needed to support economic growth in nearby Zion Crossroads. 

Interviewed for a video about the site, Monacan Chief Kenneth Branham says the area is sacred. 

“We say sacred because our ancestors did live here. Would you want your grandparents dug up and removed and disturbed?” Branham said. “We got to preserve this spot and we believe that if we can’t protect this spot there’s no place in Virginia safe.”

The National Trust’s list this year includes 11 places across the country deemed at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. 

Mallory Noe-Payne/Radio IQ

The James River Water Authority, a joint project of Fluvanna and Louisa Counties, is still waiting on a permit for the water pump project from the Army Corps of Engineers. 

After thousands of comments were submitted earlier this summer against the project, the JRWA asked the Army Corps to pause the permit process. Justin Curtis, a lawyer for the JRWA, says they asked for the suspension to give themselves more time to explore other possible sites for the water pump project.


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.


Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief.
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