South Boston, Virginia (circa 1902)
McPherson Design Group’s work on this building included field investigation and contract documents for restoring the exterior of the building to its original appearance and converting the interior spaces into a theater with a full stage, a welcome center, a meeting hall, art gallery, and classrooms. We also added one elevator, two stairwells, and an exterior handicap ramp to bring the building up to Code. Our Design Team’s intent with this project was to salvage as much original wood-work as possible to help maintain its historical character and we were very successful in doing that. The Prizery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the South Boston Historic Tobacco Warehouse District and is considered to be the most architecturally prominent and interesting of the 15 buildings in the 20-acre district. Prior to the Great Depression of the 1930’s, South Boston, Virginia had become the second largest tobacco market in the World, while supplying about 90% of the world’s tobacco seed. The Prizery was just one of many tobacco plants in the town during this time period. The origin of this building still raises many questions due to the lack of information available. Although it was originally believed that the building was built by the R.J. Reynolds Company in 1890, it was actually built in 1902 by the W.A. Willingham & Company Tobacco Prizery and later purchased by the R.J. Reynolds Company in 1907. The building now houses the Prizery Ballet Academy.