Patrick Robert Sydnor Civil War Era Historic Site + Log Cabin

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Virginia Tech. Community Design Assistance Center


The Patrick Robert Sydnor Civil War Era Historic Site and Log Cabin are located in Mecklenburg County, Virginia near routes 15 and 58. Surrounded by wooded lots and farmland, the rural setting complements the historic nature of the site. Located on a wooded area of 4.41 acres, the cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. Built during the antebellum era, the cabin was used to house the enslaved workers of the nearby Prestwould Plantation.
The log cabin site is named after Patrick Robert "Parker" Sydnor (1854-1950), a locally well-known Virginia tombstone carver, who lived in the cabin during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Parker Sydnor was born into slavery in Halifax County. He worked for forty years at his craft and there is evidence that he began making gravestones before 1900.
The log cabin has undergone structural transformation because it was continuously occupied by African American families and maintained to the best of their abilities up until the 1970s. Most of those occupants were immediate descendants of enslaved African Americans at the Prestwould and Sydnor plantations in Mecklenburg and Halifax counties.
Thus the Sydnor log cabin shifted in physical appearance and function throughout various historical periods after slavery when African American families struggled to survive and succeed. The home place was a foundation for freedom, autonomy, self-reliance, faith and the legacy of endurance. The Sydnor log cabin was characterized by an enslaved workforce, freedwomen and freedmen, sharecroppers, and unconditional poverty.
Literacy lnterActives, Inc. requested that the Community Design Assistance Center (CDAC) develop plans to rehabilitate the Patrick Robert Sydnor Log Cabin and design a new visitors center. These two features are strengthened with the design of a conceptual master plan that includes a nature trail, amphitheater, natural play area, various gardens and caretaker's house.
Throughout the design process, the CDAC team worked collaboratively with Literacy lnterActives, Inc. and members of the Mecklenburg County community to develop conceptual plans for the historic site. This report documents the design process and describes the final concepts that were developed.



Historic sites -- Virginia -- Mecklenburg County -- Designs and plans., Mecklenburg County (Va.) -- Designs and plans.