January 11, 2011

Cameron Foundation dedicates new headquarters

Having recently completed construction on its new headquarters at 228 S. Sycamore St. in Petersburg’s Poplar Lawn Historic District, The Cameron Foundation marked the occasion with a building dedication ceremony on January 20. The Foundation purchased the site, known as the Weddell-McCabe-Chisolm house, in December 2008 and engaged in rigorous work to renovate the original structure to its Greek Revival style, as well as to construct a 5,000 square-foot addition that includes meeting facilities for use by the community.

“In just seven short years since it came into existence, the Foundation has grown to better understand the needs of this community and the ways it can enhance its services to the people who call it home,” Board Chair Ann C. Taylor, noted. “Our new facilities include a conference center to offer much-needed meeting space for local nonprofits and other groups, and we have expanded our operational space to accommodate the diverse needs of our constituents.”

The Weddell-McCabe-Chisolm house was originally built as a private home between 1840 and 1845 by James Weddell, a native of Scotland. After his death in 1865, it was sold to Captain William Gordon McCabe, who ran the University School in Petersburg from 1865 to 1895. During the twentieth century and early part of this century, it had a number of owners, including Dr. Julian J. Chisolm, a distinguished surgeon.

The proportions and scale of the Greek Revival architecture of the original building informed the design of the new addition. Some of those elements include masonry piers, a standing seam metal roof, a pediment and vertical openings. Large areas of glass also fill the space with natural light.

The Foundation’s building committee chair Cleveland A. Wright explained, “Our original location in Old Towne Petersburg served us well, but we have quickly outgrown the space. The building committee considered a number of different locations before ultimately choosing this site to recommend to the board.” Construction began in August 2009. Because the building had suffered a damaging fire as well as deterioration by the elements, the work called for extensive renovations. “We credit both the Historic Petersburg Foundation and Petersburg’s Architectural Review Board for their cooperation in working through the process with us to restore and adapt this historic property.”

The Cameron Foundation is a private foundation that was formed from the proceeds of the sale of Southside Regional Medical Center in April 2003. With a mission of improving both the health and quality of life for people living in its service area, the Foundation’s giving is restricted to the area that historically had been served by the hospital. Those benefiting include residents of the cities of Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell, the counties of Dinwiddie, Prince George and Sussex, and the portion of Chesterfield County lying south of U.S. Route 10.

“Our service area encompasses close to a quarter of a million people,” President Handy L. Lindsey, Jr. noted. “With that in mind, we are continually seeking ways to serve a wide range of needs through our grant programs and other initiatives, and the design of our new headquarters reflects that effort. We hope that the community will make full use of these new resources,” he added.

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