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THE KBA STORY

~ Preservation and Stewardship ~

 

The Kernstown Battlefield Association (KBA)

is an all-volunteer Non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, formed in July 1996.

The KBA owns and operates the 315-acre Kernstown Battlefield on the

Pritchard-Grim Farm located in Winchester/Frederick County, Virginia.

 

BACKGROUND

            In 1996 The Kernstown Battlefield Association was formed as a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation whose mission was to acquire, preserve and interpret the Pritchard-Grim Farm as an historic resource. The KBA has benefited in the past from the generosity and support of our members whose contributions continue. We remain a not-for-profit association and as such are able to pass along to our benefactors the tax advantages of contributing to a non-profit association such as ours.

            The KBA is an all-volunteer organization. The Visitor Center is staffed by volunteers on Saturdays 10-4, and Sundays noon-4 from the second Saturday in May through October. Other volunteers maintain the buildings and grounds in proximity to public areas. The land continues to be a working farm with cattle grazing the fields and hay crops annually harvested.

            There is no charge for admission, but support through membership and donations is encouraged and welcomed.

 

ACQUISITION

            In 1989, upon the death of Charles Hardy Grim II, the farm consisted of 375 acres. In accordance with his will, the estate (including the farm) was left in trust with the proceeds to benefit his wife, Emily, and other named institutions.

            In 1995 the designated trustee was preparing to auction the farm and many developers were eying the property. When local governmental bodies and concerned citizens became aware that development was imminent, they banded together to save this pristine battlefield land and green oasis within the city/county.

            By September 2000, 60 acres had been sold off to two other entities. But after four years of persistence, negotiations and legal maneuvering, the KBA had amassed over $3 million of local, state and federal preservation grants and reached an agreement with the trustee of the Grim estate to purchase the remaining 315 acres at nearly $4 million. Four local banks came together and agreed to loan the KBA $925,000 to complete the purchase.

            In August 2003 the last mortgage payment was made with grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farmland Protection Program and the County of Frederick. The complete and permanent protection of the Kernstown Battlefield was finally a reality.

 

PRESERVATION AND INTERPRETATION

            In 2001, after taking possession of the property, the KBA established a visitor center in one of the farm buildings and opened to the public for the first time. Walking trails were established, battlefield interpretive signage installed, and cleanup of the Pritchard House and other endangered buildings commenced.

            In 2005 restoration of the Pritchard House exterior began and continues to this day, and will continue for many years into the future. In 2009, with the help of a grant from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, an Historic Structures Report on the house was begun which will help to guide the KBA in its future restoration work on the house.

            Since 2000, many other restoration projects have been undertaken. They included repainting all of the wood-frame farm buildings and of the 20th century bank barn; repainting the Pritchard House roof and the metal roofs on all of the other buildings; the grounds of the farm have been cleared of debris and dead trees, remnants of the large post-Civil War apple growing operation; trees have been planted in the south field which will eventually create a buffer between the farm property and commercial development to the south; and to help secure the property, new perimeter fencing has been installed.

            Over the years, the visitor center has seen steady improvements and presents a good overview of the history and battles for visitors. Walking trails have also been improved and expanded with added interpretive signage.

            Many other projects too numerous to state here have either been completed, are in progress, or are planned for the future. Today the land appears much the way it did prior to and during the Civil War, and the KBA will continue to present the story it tells for generations to come.

Above:  In 2008 the 1950s bank barn got a fresh coat of paint on all surfaces,

including its roof. The metal roofs on all other buildings were painted as well.

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THE KBA SAVES

THE PRITCHARD HOUSE

Above and Below:

    In 2000, as the KBA took possession of the battlefield property, the Pritchard House was in dire need of attention. It was overgrown with vines, most windows broken, the wooden trim and doors were rottiong, and it was in danger of collapsing.

 

     

    Above:  Removal of the vines and other growth and debris revealed the dilapidated condition of the Pritchard House.

    Above:  By the end of 2008, the Pritchard House had come back to life. Much work remains to be done but the house is stable and has been preserved.

THE KBA DEVELOPES WALKING
TRAILS & HISTORICAL MARKERS

   Above:  Noted Civil War artist, Mort Kunstler, reads one of the battlefield historical markers while visiting in 2008. Mr. Kunstler had dedicated one of his original prints to the Pritchard House on the Kernstown Battlefield and donated an artist's proof to the KBA for a very successful fund-raising raffle.

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