Volunteers help rebuild, beautify historic Roanoke home

Villa Heights was built in the 1820s and had been abandoned for a decade

ROANOKE, Va. – The historic Villa Heights estate is being brought back to life.

The northwest Roanoke home was built in the 1820s, but had been abandoned for a decade. Restoration Housing bought and began work on rehabbing Villa Heights last year and the organization invited volunteers to help for its annual Community Partnership Day.

"Every process along the way of restoring this house has been a labor of love," Isabel Thornton of Restorative Housing said. "It's like working out: after you do it, you feel the reward and you're really glad you did it."

Villa Heights will be home to the Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia when work on the house finishes later this year. The rehab is good news for the Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation, which had listed Villa Heights as an endangered building during the decade it was abandoned.

"It's one of the earliest remaining houses in Roanoke," Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation Director Anne Beckett said. "As buildings get older and we're losing them, people are realizing that we're losing a lot of our cultural history."

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