08/02/00 -- CMA BIDS TO SAVE LEE'S BOYHOOD HOME
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Confederate Memorial Association filed a last minute bid to save the boyhood home of General Robert E. Lee in Alexandria, Virginia.
When the home was sold recently to Mark and Ann Kington it caused a public outcry since the Alexandria landmark had been open to the public as one of Alexandria's most historic treasures. Mr. Kington and his wife had purchased the home from the Lee Jackson Foundation, which had been financially struggling to keep the home open and could not afford the extensive restoration that the house required.
The Kingtons purchased the home for $2.5 million as a private residence and had intended to invest a like amount for its restoration. Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley had threatened to set aside the sale, but the Kingtons indicated that they would consider selling the house back to a tax exempt organization, provided the organization could meet the required conditions for the home's restoration.
The Confederate Memorial Association responded to the National Trust for Historic Preservation's request for proposals. The National Trust will submit them to the members of a five member committee who will make their recommendation to the Kingtons. The Kingtons will then make the final determination as to whether the offers are practical financially and whether the buy back group can properly steward the restoration effort and keep the site open to the public.
John Edward Hurley, president of the Confederate Memorial Association, said that the bulk of the CMA financing would come from the $5 million counterclaims that the CMA has pending in the D.C. Superior Court.
According to Hurley, additional funding was also anticipated from individual donors who were especially anxious to have the facility preserved since the century old Washington, D.C. landmark Confederate Memorial Hall recently had to be sold.
In the CMA proposal, Hurley underscored the fact that Lee's home should not become embroiled in politics, the reason he cited for the loss of Confederate Memorial Hall.
The Kingtons are expected to make a decision on the home in September.