Presentations at Michigan Planning Conference

Bill and Kathy Frazier were both presenters at Planning Michigan, the Michigan Association of Planning’s 2017 Annual Conference, held at Mackinac Island in September.  The Michigan Association of Planning is the state’s leading planning organization with nearly 3,500 members including citizens appointed to planning commissions and zoning boards of appeal. Nearly 1,000 of its members are planners and professionals from related fields such as architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, law, the private development community, students and others.

Life in the Fast Lane” was the title of Bill’s keynote lunch address. He discussed planning issues related to commercial corridors where he reviewed their historical development and their importance in creating a first impression of the community today. He further explained how to analyze corridors so that planners can prioritize design improvements for the biggest community impact. Using his experience in communities, he covered a range of corridor types from downtown to suburban models and provided targeted solutions including design ideas and how to coordinate with other agencies for community improvements.

Kathy’s talk, “What’s Old is New Again” used Staunton, Virginia as a case study to explore historic preservation, design and economic development. She discussed how too many downtowns evolved from the historic, bustling center of town to the vacant lots and empty storefronts of urban renewal in the 1960s & 70s. Fortunately, she noted, those old buildings have begun to be renewed again thanks to façade improvements, historic rehabilitation tax credits, and the establishment of the National Main Street Program, all of which have helped link historic preservation and economic development. Kathy further noted that rehabilitation of key landmark buildings, public improvements, and corridor improvements all contribute the overall revitalization effort and reinforce a community’s sense of place. Communities all have a story to tell, and using design in the context of historic preservation can help illustrate that story for your community.


Design Open House

Join Frazier Associates for a Design Open House- available for potential commercial or residential projects. Click on link for more details or call us at 540-886-6230 to make an appointment:

DESIGN OPEN HOUSE: Sept. 8th, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Staunton’s Montgomery Hall Park

Montgomery Hall Park

Recently listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register of Historic Places, Montgomery Hall Park is noted for its architectural character, as well as its significant ties to the African American community in Staunton and statewide.  John Howe Peyton, a Princeton-educated lawyer who moved to Staunton in 1808, originally owned the 800 acre plantation, which consisted of wheat as the cash crop, orchards, and livestock. A contemporary of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and other leaders of the young Republic, Peyton was a recognized lawyer, statesman, and education proponent. He built Montgomery Hall in 1822 for his second wife, Ann Montgomery Lewis. By 1902 the property had dwindled to 150 acres and the new owners, Frank and Emma Walter, commissioned local architect T.J. Collins to design an addition. Before it could be built in 1906, the house was destroyed by fire. The Walters had Collins design a new house, based somewhat on the form of the original and built on the former foundation.

The City purchased the 148-acre property in 1946, and designated it as a park for the local African American community, giving them full control of its operation and a small operating budget. The Montgomery Hall Park Recreation Committee was created and quickly established park rules, programs and fees to better fund the facility. By the late 1940s, newly added facilities included a swimming pool, playgrounds, horseshoe pit, and other recreational features. Montgomery Hall Park was held in high esteem by the local black community, and activities for athletics, education, and religion were coordinated between the Park, the African-American churches, and the Booker T. Washington School. The park and its main building were a hub of social life for the community, hosting dances, swimming lessons, croquet, card games, flower shows, and bowling. As one of only a few designated African-American parks with such superb amenities in Virginia, the park gained statewide recognition. Groups from Roanoke to Clifton Forge, as well as Charlottesville and Lynchburg made the day trip to Staunton, some even camping overnight. Visitation during the summer season from June to Labor Day often reached 18,000.

Early image of Montgomery Hall Park playground.

The Montgomery Hall Park Recreation Committee ran the park and served as liaison between the African-American community and city government until 1969 when it was integrated into the rest of the city park system.  Today, Montgomery Hall is home to the Department of Parks and Recreation offices, and the park has been expanded and improved to include modern playgrounds, a swimming pool complex, picnic shelters, walking trails, basketball and tennis courts, and several playing fields, and parking lots.  In 2002, the Staunton City Council dedicated the Montgomery Hall Park Administration Building in honor of Mrs. Irene Givens, who had dedicated over 25 years of service to the park and its programs prior to 1970.

Working with the City of Staunton, Frazier Associates conducted research and wrote the architectural description, as well as coordinated and submitted the nomination materials to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  In-depth historical research for the nomination was provided by Nancy Sorrells. Dennis B. Blanton and the James Madison University Department of Sociology and Anthropology conducted the archeological survey of the property. Historic Staunton Foundation provided copies of drawings from their T. J. Collins archives. The property is currently under consideration for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

To view additional photographs on our website click here. 


Historic Preservation Consultants

Frazier Associates conducted historic structures report on three of Maymont’s outbuildings, constructed between c.1893 and the 1930s, to aid in a future transportation related interpretation.

Since 1986, Frazier Associates has been a leader in helping communities and individuals enhance their downtowns, neighborhoods, homes, and buildings. As a full-service architecture, planning, and historic preservation consulting firm, downtown revitalization, adaptive reuse, historic preservation, urban infill, and community planning are hallmarks of our work.  Frazier Associates’ team of historic architects, planners and architectural historians has fostered a preservation ethic as a civic responsibility to retain the best of each community’s past for the benefit of future generations. The 13-person office is headed by Kathy and Bill Frazier, a historical architect, and an architectural historian/planner respectively.

Our services as historic preservation consultants include assistance to homeowners, businesses, developers, institutions, non-profits, government agencies and municipalities. In all cases the goal is to preserve historic character, promote revitalization, and enhance community.  Click here to read more about our historic preservation consultant services.

Why Use an Architect?

Undertaking a building project can be a rewarding but complicated task. An architect can make each stage go more smoothly and add value to the project. Whether it is new construction or renovation of an existing building – residential or commercial – there are hundreds of decisions to make, options to evaluate, and codes and zoning questions to navigate. An architect is professionally trained to help you plan, design, and implement a building project that meets your goals both aesthetically and functionally, and meets your budget.

At Frazier Associates, we realize that undertaking a building project, whether it’s your home or business or a development property, is one of the biggest investments you may make. We are committed to working with our clients as partners to create a home or building that fulfills your vision through the best possible design solution. To meet this goal, our design process emphasizes clear communication about project requirements, budget parameters, and design aesthetics. As architects, our design approach is one of creative collaboration that reflects the owner’s preferences and acknowledges the existing context of the building or site.

The following are a few of the questions that an architect can help you address:

  • How do I plan the project?

    Engaging an architect early in the planning stage saves time and streamlines the process. In gaining an understanding of the site or existing building and your vision, an architect will create a scope of work that organizes tasks and meets your overall project goals.

  • What zoning and building codes do I need to understand?

    An architect is experienced in researching and evaluating building and code requirements to ensure that your project is designed to meet regulations.

  • How do I achieve the style, look, and features I want in a building or addition?

    Working with you to understand and develop your style preferences is part of the design process. Often questionnaires and samples of photos and images help develop this aspect of the project. The architect will then incorporate your preferences through the overall design and detail drawings for the project. Having fully detailed architectural drawings and material specifications, and working with the contractor to implement those details, is the best way to achieve your vision for the project.

  • How much will the project cost and how can I get accurate estimates before I start building?

    An architect can help you plan for project costs based on related projects and experience, and can often save money by designing a more efficient building. They can provide options for cost savings through design, phasing, or materials from the planning and design stage and through construction. While hiring an architect may add cost, overall it adds value to the project by creating a well-planned and detailed project that addresses budget issues throughout the process and avoids unexpected circumstances in construction. Making changes on paper in the planning process is much cheaper and easier than during construction when the contractor is standing there with hammer in hand wondering what to do next!

  • With so many new products and technology on the market today, how can I find out which ones are best for my project?

    Research and experience by an architect can help you sort through the many options in products for your project from energy saving measures and mechanical systems, to siding, lighting, and flooring choices. This can help you achieve your goals and save you time and money.

  • How can I find a reputable contractor and how long will the project take to complete?

    An architect can help with bidding and negotiation by meeting with potential contractors and obtaining cost and time estimates for your project. Working with you to ensure that a contractor follows the intended design, stays within budget, and remains on schedule is a valuable part of helping you achieve the vision for your completed project.


Contact Frazier Associates today to find out how we can help with your residential or commercial building project!




Design & Tax Credit Open House

Join Frazier Associates staff on Friday, April 28th to discuss the possibilities for design of your commercial or residential project, or the potential of using historic rehabilitation tax credits.  Contact the office to schedule an appointment for a free one hour meeting.

To learn more about the historic rehabilitation tax credits, read more at our website page under Historic Tax Credits.  Additional information is also available on the Virginia Department of Historic Resources website at

Abode Article Features Frazier Associates Project

The April issue of Abode magazine features an article on Monticola, an impressive 1850s Virginia home.  Frazier Associates provided architectural and historic rehabilitation tax credit services for the project.  Read more at

Rear facade of house; Photo by Philip Beaurline

And check out the Abode article here:

Residential Design Open House

Sears Hill Bridge & New Overlook Signs

The Sears Hill Bridge dates from circa 1905 when the present train station, designed by noted local architect T. J. Collins, was erected. The rare iron truss pedestrian bridge is a contributing structure in the Wharf Historic District and is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge connects the Sears Hill neighborhood and park, located on the steep hill south of the tracks, to downtown Staunton, providing access for over 100 years to its residents. It is an important visual element of the Wharf District’s historic landscape, and has become a popular vantage point in recent years for tourists overlooking Staunton’s historic districts. To preserve the badly deteriorating Bridge, a volunteer group, Friends of the Sears Hill Bridge Committee, chaired by Bill Frazier, rallied community support to raise over $200,000 and coordinate the rehabilitation of this historic structure and return it to public use in 2012.

To complement the installation of the rehabilitated bridge, the Committee coordinated the design and installation of these interpretive signs with Frazier Associates. The signs convey the history of train station and bridge, and recognize the community effort to preserve this important feature of the Wharf Historic District.

New Overlook Signs Installed

New overlook signs take in the view of downtown.

New overlook signs take in the view of downtown.

Fast-forward to 2016, with the restoration of the Sears Hill Bridge and access improved to the Sears Hill Neighborhood and Woodrow Park across the bridge, the City of Staunton commissioned the design and installation of an overlook area and additional interpretative signs. Frazier Associates designed the overlook and signs, as well as developing graphics and text for the signs. Historic Staunton Foundation provided content information, with editorial assistance provided by Nancy Sorrells and Katherine Brown.

The three new signs at the overlook provide a map of Staunton’s five downtown historic districts, a key with descriptive information on particular landmark buildings, and a comparative historic 1856 lithographic print by German artist, Edward Beyer of the same view of downtown.

In addition, a new sign was designed and installed to provide information about the development of the Sears Hill Neighborhood and Woodrow Park, as well as Dr. Barnas Sears for whom the hilltop neighborhood is named. Sears moved to a house adjacent to the park area in 1867, and administered an educational fund to establish free public schools throughout the South after the Civil War.

The new signs provide both historical background and orientation to residents and visitors who transverse the Bridge to take in the panoramic views of downtown Staunton. The signs were made possible by funds raised by the Friends of the Sears Hill Bridge Committee. Nearly $4,000 from the Sears Hill Bridge restoration fund was used to construct the informational signs. The funds are managed by The Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge. City Manager Steve Owen noted: “These signs provide visitors to the overlook with historical reference points that really complement this beautiful view of the city. They are a wonderful addition to the park and a fitting final piece to the community’s successful Sears Hill Bridge project.”

Read more about Frazier Associates’ interpretive sign projects and services at


Newsletter 2016

Frazier Associates’ most recent newsletter focuses on historic rehabilitation tax credit projects- from large industrial buildings revitalized for mixed-use projects, to downtown commercial and residential projects.  Also included is a special “Getting to Know Us” section in honor of our 30th anniversary.  Many thanks to all our clients, friends, and staff for a wonderful 30 years; we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future!

2016 Newsletter