The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization created for the purpose of promoting the preservation of the historic, natural, and cultural resources of the Roanoke Valley.


History of the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation


Bylaws of the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation

Board of Trustees

The Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees committed to assisting the Foundation in accomplishing its Mission and purpose that includes:
1. promoting the preservation of the historic, natural, and cultural resources of the Roanoke Valley,
2. assisting in the establishment of a framework for the support and exchange of information among organizations whose purposes are related to the preservation of the historic, natural, and cultural resources of the Roanoke Valley,
3. educating the public to support preservation of the historic, natural, and cultural resources of the Roanoke Valley,
4. overseeing the establishment and operation of the revolving fund for the purchase and resale with protective covenants of historic or culturally significant real and personal properties, such as structures, objects, land areas, and archeological sites,
5. assisting with the Foundation’s purchase, selling, developing, owning, and/or maintenance of historic and/or culturally significant real and personal properties, including but not limited to structures, objects, facade easements, or other interests, and,
6. engaging and participating in efforts and activities consistent with the foregoing.
In making this commitment, Directors accept certain specific obligations that are integral to the exemplary leadership assumed in their appointment that contribute to the Foundation’s financial stability, growth and effective operation, including participation in Foundation-sponsored events, activities and committees, fiscal contribution, and meeting attendance.

2024 Board of Trustees

Whitney Leeson, President - Dr. Leeson is the Chair of the History Department at Roanoke College. She specializes in historical anthropology with strong interest in historical archaeology and material culture. Most of her recent public history work has focused on the preservation of two properties on the Roanoke College campus--Clay Street House and Monterey Quarters (a slave dwelling behind Monterey). She is also quite enamored with historic landscapes and backyard gardening despite the efforts of her welsh terrier's efforts to destroy the flowerbeds in progress.
Bob Clement, Vice-President - Bob retired as the Neighborhood Services Coordinator for the City of Roanoke in 2018. He has many years of experience in the design and development of community–based projects within diverse communities and groups. Prior to moving to Roanoke, Bob re-energized the Yorkville Historical Society in York, SC to promote and educate the residents of the value of saving and maintaining the town's historic structures and streetscapes. While there he converted his 1825 'steamboat gothic' residence from 4 apartments into a single-family home. Bob currently lives in the historic Old Southwest neighborhood in the Queen Anne residence built in 1900 by JH Marsteller, owner of the Marsteller Marble & Tile Company. In 1925, Marsteller sold his residence at auction to move out into the newly developed suburbs of Grandin Road.  His home was purchased by 2 brothers who converted it into apartments at that time.  It remained an apartment dwelling until 2003 when Bob and his husband purchased the property and converted it back into a single-family residence where they reside today.
Frederick Gusler, Treasurer - Frederick is Director of Redevelopment and Revitalization for the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority where he works on improving the City’s public housing developments and serving as the liaison to the City of Roanoke on redevelopment and revitalization projects. Prior to his current role, he was Senior Planner for the City of Roanoke, where he worked for almost 15 years on neighborhood revitalization efforts and brownfield redevelopment, and intermittently as the Agent to the City’s Architectural Review Board. Frederick grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia where his Father and Stepmother had long careers with Colonial Williamsburg. However he has roots in the Roanoke Valley where his parents and stepmother grew up. He has lived in Roanoke since 2000.
Secretary - (Currently Vacant)  
Brenda Allen - Brenda Allen is a native of Massachusetts and has resided in Roanoke for almost 30 years. She is married with two children and two grandchildren and resides in a historic home located in the heart of Roanoke’s historic Gainsboro neighborhood. Brenda received her master’s degree from the University of Lowell, MA in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. Her son received his masters degree from Virginia Tech in Engineering and her daughter received her masters degree from Howard University in Journalism and International Studies. Brenda is passionate about making things better for our communities, discovering and preserving the history of untold stories of places for the benefit of current and future generations. Brenda currently serves on Roanoke’s Architectural Review Board and is also an active member of her Gainsboro neighborhood organization.
Jordan Bell - Jordan is a Gainsboro resident, community activist, and teacher in Roanoke City Public Schools. Jordan has given tours to hundreds of people of the historical Gainsboro community. He is currently putting together a documentary on the Gainsboro history and a book to go along. Jordan is a father, brother, and son.
Alison Stone Blanton - Trustee since 1998, Alison is an architectural historian and preservation consultants, who works for Hill Studio, where she is responsible for cultural and historic preservation projects. Alison has worked with planners, architects, economists, attorneys, and developers on various Historic Tax Credit projects in Virginia, as well as in other states. She has completed numerous National Register nominations, both individual properties and historic districts, as well as county-wide surveys of historic resources throughout Virginia. Alison consults frequently with State Historic Preservation Offices and the National Park Service and assists in coordinating Section 106 review for projects involving historic resources with state agencies.
Ariel Clark - Ariel has been a Trustee since January 2022. She is a certified Virginia Class A Building contractor, having relaunched her family business, Southwest Restoration, in 2020. She was a 2021 recipient of the Foundation's Kegley Award for Preservation for her work on a privately-owned historic smokehouse at Monterey plantation. Clark also restored both the historic Clay Street House and the Monterey Slave Quarters for Roanoke College. She was the project supervisor on historic preservation projects with HistoriCorps, including work at National Park Service’s Bodie State Historic Park in California and the New Bern Academy Museum for Tryon Palace in North Carolina. She spent five years restoring historic wooden windows of old VMI barracks in Lexington, as well as the decorative masonry restoration along its parapet walls. “Roanoke has a rich and diverse history woven through two centuries and across 49 neighborhoods. Those histories are reflected in many ways, including through its architecture, our parks, the city streets and even in my neighbors. I hope the work I have done and any work I may one day complete helps those neighbors and carries forward our shared histories to the future.”
Lynsey Crantz-Allie - Trustee since 2019, Lynsey is a Roanoke native.  She attended Roanoke College where she received her BA in History.  She went on to get her Masters in Archival Studies from Clayton State University.  She is a certified archivist through the Academy of Certified Archivists.  She is currently the Museum Manager for the Historical Society of Western Virginia, where she has worked for the last four years.  Lynsey has always had a passion for history and hopes that through her work, she can help preserve the past for future generations.  In her spare time, Lynsey loves to travel with her husband and read.
Constance Crutchfield - - Constance is a neighborhood advocate and resides in Roanoke's historic Gainsboro neighborhood. She also currently serves as the president of the Gainsboro SW Neighborhood Organization, representing the residents of Roanoke, VA's oldest community, Gainsboro.
Whitney Feldman - Whitney has a BA in History from Mary Baldwin College and an MFA from Hollins College. She taught high school history for a number of years.  She is a native of Roanoke with Botetourt County ties.  Her 200 acre family farm is now held under a conservation easement by VOF and Whitney has recently installed a conservation plan on the property using BMP and CREP practices (which included planting 900 trees). Formerly a partner in  Landmark Tours where tours of local landmarks were emphasized, Whitney continues to be involved with local history, preservation and conservation., currently serving on the boards of the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy, and the Garden Club of Virginia’s Conservation Committee. Her love of history includes membership in the DAR and Colonial Dames.
katie Coffield Gutshell - Trustee since 2014, Katie is a Preservation Planner with Hill Studio in Roanoke. She regularly works on National Register nominations, historic district surveys, and historic tax credit projects. Katie holds a BA in Urban & Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a MA in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University. Prior to moving to Roanoke, she worked as a planning consultant in Albany, New York. Katie currently serves on the City of Roanoke Architectural Review Board.
Judith Harrison - Trustee since 2014, Judy is a lifetime resident of the Roanoke Valley.  After 33 years of service with Carilion Clinic she retired in 2010.  Judy now works part time at Jefferson Center and spends her spare time visiting with friends, reading and volunteering with several organizations.  She spends a considerable number of weekends and vacations traveling to visit historic towns, buildings and homes. Judy is an ardent advocate for saving historic buildings and has always been interested in history and old buildings.
Mike Kennedy - After more than 15 years in newspapers, Mike left journalism to follow another love: architecture. Childhood visits to football games at the University of Virginia and an undergraduate career that began at the historic campus of Washington and Lee University had given me an appreciation of old buildings with good "bones." As a young reporter in Charleston, W.Va., he gained an appreciation for how the decisions made in City Hall affect neighborhoods. Since leaving college, Mike has always lived in an old house in a prewar neighborhood when he could. He likes tree-lined streets, alleys, sidewalks and proximity to small businesses. Mike is not a New Urbanist; he is an Old Urbanist. With interests in old buildings, urbanism and making things, architecture seemed like a natural second-career choice. How are copy editing and architecture related? Both lie at the intersection of art and practicality.
Kate kronau - Trustee since 2018, Kate received her BA in American Studied from the University of Virginia and MA in Historic Preservation and Conservation from the Washington University. She is a Roanoke native and works for Hill Studio as a Preservation Associate.
Megan Mizak - Megan has worked at the Gainsboro Branch of Roanoke Public Libraries since 2011. Since working at the library, Megan has curated, maintained and preserved the library's Virginia Y. Lee Collection, which is composed of rare books, historical documents, photographs and reference materials that focus on African American history in the Roanoke Valley. As a dedicated public servant devoted to maintaining community connections and local history, she has sought out and fostered relationships with local community members, regarding the roll of Roanoke Public Libraries' interest in historical preservation.
Eric Helms Monday Eric's family roots have always been in Southern Virginia. He attended the University of Virginia for both undergraduate and law school, working throughout at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, and living in one of Jefferson’s original Lawn rooms during his final undergraduate year. After law school Eric clerked for U.S. District Judge Jackson Kiser. He was Martinsville City Attorney from 2003 to 2023, and is now General Counsel at the Roanoke Airport. Eric has served on numerous civic boards and was named a Virginia Law Foundation Fellow in 2021, an honor granted to the top 1% of Virginia lawyers. He is also general counsel for the Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and president of the Fincastle Resolutions SAR chapter in Roanoke. He is a member of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Commission for the 250 the Anniversary of the American Revolution. His interests include history, travel, a 1957 mahogany motorboat, and “piddling around” his 1841 farm in Franklin County. Eric is married to Monica Taylor, chairperson of Gentry- Locke. They have one son named Helms, and share their Cave Spring home, just a few miles from his ancestor’s original 1740s land grant, with two hideously spoiled rescue dogs. Eric recently moved the neoclassic cupola, weighing two tons, from his family’s church in Martinsville, built by his grandfather in 1937 and when replaced by a steeple in the 1980s, converted into a gazebo by his mother, to be the centerpiece of their garden.
David Parr - David is an attorney and has been a Trustee since January 2019.
Ginny Savage - Ginny was a Board member for the Salem Historical Society for several terms and served as President at one time. She was Chair of the committee that renovated Preston Place which is owned by the Salem Historical Society. She is currently on the Session of Salem Presbyterian Church and serves on the Board of Directors for the Presbyterian Community Center located in the very old Garland's Drug Store in Southeast Roanoke. She was born at Jefferson Hospital in Old SW and lived on Highland Avenue growing up. Her dad grew up on Maple Avenue SW and was born in 1902 on Highland Ave SW, so her roots run deep in Roanoke's historic Old SW neighborhood.
Evelyn (Evie) Slone, Trustee Emerita) - Evie is a founding member of the Foundation and a professional land and development planner. She has worked in both local government (City of Roanoke) and as a private consultant (Hill Studio). Over the past twenty years, Evie has helped establish and administer local historic districts, advocated for significant historic properties and neighborhoods, and facilitated development alternatives to preserve historic properties. Evie has particular interest in family history and traditions as well as promoting the community’s important people and places. ‘It gives us “roots” and appreciation for who we are and where we live today!
Angel Stiefbold - Angela holds a PhD in United States history from the University of Cincinnati; her dissertation investigated the interconnected history of metropolitan planning and farmland preservation. She also earned a master’s degree in regional planning from UNC-Chapel Hill. Her work as a planner included staffing a local historic preservation commission and historic preservation consulting. Her BS in urban studies from Cornell University included coursework in architectural history and historic preservation. Angela has also served as an appointed member of municipal historic preservation and planning commissions and has volunteered with local history and historic preservation nonprofits. After living and working in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Germany, Ohio, and North Carolina, Angela moved to Roanoke in 2021 and has assisted in the development of the Gainsboro History Project website and the cataloging of RVPF archival materials donated to the Roanoke Public Library.

2 thoughts on “About Us

  1. I am trying to find a book I once saw with a history of Roanoke that included a chapter on some of the construction companies from Roanoke. I wonder if anyone there might recall that book?

    • Hi Mr. Minnix…
      I asked several of our board members if they were familiar with the book and no one acknowledged that they were. But several did ask if you were able to determine the existence of the book we would certainly be interested in taking a look at it if you would be willing to provide us with the title and author. Thanks so much for reaching out and I apologize that we were not able to help.

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