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Phase I on law office complete

Historical Society will now look toward more upgrades

Source: The Kentbridge Victoria Dispatch

Wednesday August 3, 2011 – Page 1

The Lunenburg County Historical Society met on Sunday, July 31, 2011 to celebrate the completion of Phase I of its project to make the two law offices at Lunenburg Court House available to the public.  When the project is completed, the building constructed in 1842 would become the Lunenburg Visitor Center.  The second would become a museum, with some original furnishings used by Isaac Bonaparte Bell, the illustrious Lunenburg attorney who had his law office constructed in 1888.

Phase I of the project saw the building repaired and preserved for the future, with new coats of paint, weather-tight windows and doors, and shutters that replicated the shutters that had disappeared during the long history of the buildings.  Temporary stairs now lead into the buildings, that are on higher than their original foundations.

Subsequent phases will include interior repairs and updates, installation of modern heating and cooling devices, the final furnishing of the buildings for their new roles, in addition to making the building compliant with ADA accessibility standards.  The society sees this as a four-phase project.  It hopes to complete each phase with a budget of $10,000 or less.  The expenditure by the society of approximately $10,200 resulted in the completion of Phase I.

Completion of these additional phases will require considerable money, approaching possibly as much as $30,000.  The Allen Firm has pledged $10,000 to the project, if the society can raise the needed funds to complete the project.  Therefore, the society solicits the support of individuals, businesses, and organizations in order to bring the project to full fruition.

The Allen Law Firm, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010, has agreed to give its donation as a means of honoring its founder, George E. Allen, Sr.  It was in 1910 at the Lunenburg county seat that the senior George Allen, the firm’s founder and a native of Lunenburg, began his practice of law, before moving his practice to Victoria, and later in the 1930’s to Richmond, where his three sons eventually joined him in the firm.

While living in Victoria, Mr. Allen was elected the town’s youngest ever mayor and went on to represent Lunenburg County in the Virginia General Assembly.  In 1973, his family presented the county with a handsome portrait of George Allen that proudly hangs in one of the anterooms on the second floor outside the courtroom.

At the historical society meeting, Project Manager Steve Israel made an outstanding PowerPoint presentation, along with “living history” re-enactments of attorneys Woodson and Bell, the original owners of the law offices.  Following delicious refreshments coordinated by Betty Boyle and provided by LCHS members, those in attendance were able to go outside to the front lawn of the law office building to see the work that had been completed in Phase I.

At the July 31st meeting of the Lunenburg County Historical Society, nine members of the family of George Allen, Sr., were in attendance.  Shown here on the porch of the historic Lunenburg Court House are (left to right) Ashby Bridgforth Allen, the second son of George Allen, Sr. and one of the original four Allens in the law firm of Allen, Allen, and Allen; Patricia Allen Winters, daughter of the firm’s founder, George Allen, Sr.; Beth Allen Cuthbert, George Allen’s granddaughter, a retired partner of the firm; Charlie Cuthbert, husband of Beth Cuthbert; and Ryan D. Winters, great grandson of George Allen, Sr. (Missing from the photo:  George E. “Ted” Allen, III, grandson of the senior George Allen and one of the practicing partners in the firm; Becky Allen, Mr. Ashby Allen’s daughter, and granddaughter of George Allen, Sr.; Bridgforth Allen, son of Ashby Allen, and grandson of George Allen, Sr.; Austin H. Winters,  Mrs. Winter’s son, and grandson of George Allen.)