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Historic Church Leaving Short Pump — on a Trailer

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Short Pump's historic Springfield Baptist Church, threatened by encroaching retail development for the past three years, is moving.

A local nonprofit, Field Day of the Past, will pick up the church, built in 1887, and drive it 10 miles down West Broad Street into Goochland County.

The historic African-American church has been vacant since 2004, when the congregation outgrew the building behind Tom Leonard's Farmer's Market. The building had been slated for demolition before APVA Preservation Virginia intervened.

APVA worked with the developer who bought the church property, Richmond-based Atlantic Development, to facilitate the deal, finalized May 15.

"You don't want to see a historic building go into a Dumpster," says Sarah Cooleen, revolving fund program manager at APVA. "Removing a building is sort of a last resort, but in this case it was an easy decision." If a building has to be moved, she says, keeping it close to the original location is preferable.

Field Day of the Past started as a one-day gas-and-steam engine show in 1992. Over the years, the group started adding historic buildings to its collection in Goochland and now holds a three-day event in September that draws 30,000 people annually.

Several additions have been made to the church over time, but Field Day can move only the original 28-by-28-foot frame at an estimated cost of $25,000. The roof will be removed and reassembled at the new site.

The church will rejoin its old neighbors the Short Pump Garage and Grocery, buildings that in the 1930s stood on West Broad about a mile from where Springfield Baptist sits today. S

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