About The War Memorial

It Starts With Community

Most local residents can easily recognize the large white building located on Skaggs Road just past the village area. It is situated across the street from the Powhatan County School District Administration Offices and the Ace’s Diamond sports complex. The structure is Powhatan County’s War Memorial.  The rear of the building can also be seen from Angerson Highway. In 1940, an initial proposal for a “citizen-funded community center and armory” had been discussed for all of Powhatan County. Early fund raiding initiatives had already been planned when World War II intervened. However, shortly after the war, the efforts regained momentum. A non-profit committee of residents chaired by W.E. Maxey Jr., with assistance from Mrs. Eloise H. Powell, who acted as secretary, and Treasurer George K. Wright, began organizing the dauniting task of nancing the project. The price tag for a proposed two story center was set at $63,000. An 18-acre tract of land for the building site was approved by the county in November of 1949, and the actual construction began in December of that same year.

In February 1950, a group of prominent Powhatan business and civic leaders including E. Floyd Yates, Winfrey Parker, W.R. Blandford, and Colonel Skaggs, requested the county donate $10,000 to aid construction costs. Blandford and Edgar Bolte returned to the county government in May of that year to request additional $2,000 for steel lockers and furniture. The Board of Supervisors approved their request at $200 per month for 10  months.  Additionally, the State of Virginia pledged $10,000 for the construction of an armory to house the Heavy Mortar Company of the 176th Regimental Combat Team of the Virginia National Guard. (Note: the new armory that replaced the original in 2001 cost $3.9 million). However, the bulk of the remaining cost would be raised by the community in the form of $24,000 in $100 bonds, individual contributions, and social activities such as dinners, and dances.

The first and longest continuing tenant of the new building was the Masonic Lodge Temple #295, who “purchased” the upper floor of the structure for $5,000 and obtained a 99 year lease with renewal options. It was the Masons who laid the cornerstone of the building at the social dedication ceremony on Memorial Day, 1950. The social dedication lasted all day. The keynote speaker was U.S. Congressman Watkins M. Abbitt from the 4th Congressional District. Music was provided by the Powhatan High School Band; there was also a baseball game and a dance that evening.

Although, dedicated in 1950, the entire complex was not completely finished until 1952. The building featured a large gymnasium, lockers, office space, meeting rooms, and a large kitchen. The adjacent playing fields used by Powhatan Youth groups today was “dug out” by an Army surplus bulldozer obtained through the efforts of then School Superintendent J.S. Cardwell. The original bleacher planks were provided by three local lumber companies (Ball, Goodwin, and Palmore). Dunn Chevrolet fabricated the metal framework for the spectator stands. The gymnasium was used by Powhatan High School, and later by Huguenot Academy for basketball games and school events such as proms through the 1950’s and 60’s. community dinners and dances were also held there frequently. Brayer Pontiac would hold an annual dance to unveil the new Pontiac cars to the general public. Bi-monthly dances to help with the building fund were held throughout the decade. A local band such as James Sullivan’s played regional and country music. Many clubs and organizations such as Order of the Eastern Star, 4-H, American Legion, and Ruritans have used the building over the years. There have been auctions, sales, and even a sewing factory was set up for business there briey. The building itself has never been owned by the county. From its inception in 1950 until 1970, it was operated by the War Memorial Association.

From 1970 through 1981, it was operated by the Masonic Lodge, and in 1981, the Masons gave the building, plus 1.8 acres to the Virginia Army National Guard until the year 2020, with the stipulation that the state would provide maintenance.

At age 60, the building is still a useful facility and source of pride for the citizens of Powhatan County. In May of 2014, after working with the County of Powhatan for over a year, a decision was made and the War Memorial Building was purchased for $10.00. To protect the interest of Powhatan citizens, the Board of Supervisors stipulated that the War Memorial Cultural Arts & Community Center must make at least $150,000 in improvements to the building and pay all utility bills for 5 years. The total commitment is approximately $250,000 over a 5 year period. Moving forward it will take the efforts of the whole community to help bring The War Memorial Arts and Community Center to life. Through volunteering, donations, and the efforts of staff members we are confident it will soon be a place of great joy for many generations to come.    

The Mission

The mission of the War Memorial Cultural Art and Community Center is threefold:


Provide an outlet for creative community involvement, while seeking to produce quality entertainment through various forms of the cultural arts.


Provide appropriate and respectful recognition for our community’s veterans and those currently serving in all branches of the armed forces.


Provide a quality facility that can be utilized for activities that enrich, support, and enhance a sense of community.

Donate & Help The War Memorial Thrive

Your donation is tax-deductible

Monetary funds are always needed for day to day operations expenses as well as renovation and capital improvement projects. Additionally, materials, supplies, logistics, and other “stuff” are needed to help is fulfill our mission. Our thoughts about donations; It’s extremely important when you’re making a decision about donating money that the organization you intend to support is:

  • Actually doing what they say their going to do with your funds
  • Using the funds provided to meet the goals or purpose they were intended for
  • Keeping you informed on their progress, and
  • Most importantly, making you feel good about what you’re supporting


The Board of Directors