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The Cubanola
Remodeling at the Cubanola
Downtown South Boston, Virginia

An old building gets a new life

The Cubanola at 419 has been known by other names throughout the years, J.C. Howlett's Piano and Appliance and the Law Building being the the most recent. The building, which has been vacant for several months, is undergoing an exciting remodeling on both levels. The building is a historically contributing building located in Downtown South Boston's historic district, which is named on the US Department of the Interior's National Register of Historic Places.

The sign seen above was found on the second level behind a plaster wall. The complete sign has not yet been uncovered, but we know that the sign reads "Cubanola". It is this sign that gives the building its name. On the right, a seal for grape flavored chewing tobacco manufactured by the R. Patterson Tobacco Company is visible.

The Interior Department's report on the town's historic district lists the building as being asymmetrical, historically contributing, and built circa 1910's in the Vernacular style. It has two floors, each with approximately 2000 square feet of floor area. The downstairs space will host a muti-purpose studio space, and the primary use will be dance instruction. The upstairs remodeling commenced in December of 2001 and is designed to accomodate office, studio, or residential use.

Adaptive reuse in a nutshell

It is my hope others will see that our old downtown spaces can be remodeled in such a way that the historic character can be maintained while designing the space for a variety of traditional and modern uses. We need to realize that once the spaces have been defaced or demolished, they are gone forever. South Boston has a limited but maintainable stock of historic buildings and structures, and by remodeling them and adaptively reusing them, we can give new life to older spaces. The collective efforts of remodeling and using the empty storefronts and upstairs spaces will have a revitalizing effect for our downtown. The effects of a vibrant downtown South Boston will be felt all throughout the community.

Financing by Suntrust and the Town of South Boston Enterprise Zone Loan Program.

For more information on historic preservation, visit the following links.

Town of South Boston, Virginia
Destination Downtown South Boston
Virginia Main Street Program
Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods (ACORN)
National Main Street Center
National Trust for Historic Preservation
VCU Urban Studies and Planning

Start the downstairs tour

Start the upstairs tour