Hobson resident Mary Hill shows off the cornerstone of the Masonic lodge on Crittenden Road in this March 2010 photo. She has filed an injunction against the city to cancel demolition of the structure, which has been cited for multiple code violations.

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Injunction sought to stop Hobson demolition

Published 1:11am Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hobson village resident Mary Hill on Friday filed a request for an injunction in Circuit Court to stop the demolition of the Masonic Lodge located at 8313 Crittenden Road.

Hill alleges in the injunction that the city plans to demolish the building, which was cited for multiple code violations, because of “New Jim Crow racism.” She also says the problems with the building have aggravated her “post traumatic slavery syndrome.”

Hill further claims she was “improperly served notices” as the previous owner of the lodge. However, she is the director of the Suffolk African American Cultural Society, Inc., which currently owns the property. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1952.

The injunction lists the city, G and I Demolition and the Virginia Utility Protection Service as defendants.

In April, a city inspector cited 12 code violations on the historic building, including failure to repair the metal roof, steps, chimney, exterior surfaces, windows and doors. It was also cited as an “unsafe structure” and “dilapidated vacant structure.”

In July, she said in an appeal to the Board of Building Code Appeals, the court directed her to take action to address the code violations. When she did so, she said, the city issued a stop work order, “thus deliberately and intentionally delaying my ability to comply with the court,” she said.

The stop work order was issued because she did not obtain a building permit for the repairs. Hill says she applied for one but was denied.

As evidence that the structure is solid, Hill offered up the fact that it withstood the winds and rain of Hurricane Irene in late August.

“I submit that I deny being in violation of the building code law when making a reasonable attempt to comply with the honorable court’s order to proceed to correct the defects identified to the court and request that the stop work order be rescinded so that we may be allowed to further secure the building,” Hill wrote.

City spokeswoman Debbie George said the city “does not comment on pending legal matters.”

The land and building, which also was once used as a school, are assessed at $9,100, according to online assessor’s records.

This isn’t the first time Hill has taken her fight against demolition to the courts. In September 2010, she was among a group of property owners to file suit in federal court against the city and the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority on the grounds that the scheduled demolitions were “discriminatory” and the homeowners had been denied access to federal funds to maintain their properties. Hill owned three of the seven properties involved in that suit at the time, including the Masonic lodge.

A judge dismissed that lawsuit in January, though Hill appealed the decision. Bulldozers razed at least three of those buildings in March.

A hearing is set for Oct. 18 at 4 p.m. in Suffolk Circuit Court.

  • go figure

    Please explain to me….. If 99% of the building is orginial, then why was a new cornerstone needed in 1952?

    Suggest Removal


    HMMMM! Seriously?????

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    If it’s not a race thing why don’t you be a good servant and lend your sister a helping hand.

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  • Lovebug

    Oh my Mary must be reading. LOL Check out this site.

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  • scratch01

    “POST TRAUMATIC SLAVERY SYNDROME” Ha! You play that race card girlfiend! You sure look good to be over 150 years old!

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  • Lovebug

    Oh Lord the stuff we have to read about on this site! LOL SNH….a good story to write on would be WHO and WHEN Mary Hill was a slave! I would personally find that information very interesting! Further, I would like to know more about her “post traumatic slavery syndrome” a syndrome I have never heard of in my life. “Psyco Snydrome” I can see but “slavery syndrome”? Really? Bottom line here Mary is that you should have repaired these buildings long ago! You should have gotten a permit YEARS ago and taken care of the properties that you own. Had you done these things rather than hunting for someone else to pay for it based on “race” you would NOT be in the situation you currently find yourself in.

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  • go figure

    Is it just me or is anyone else seeing a pattern here?It seems if the same amount of attention and energy was applied to up keep in the first place, as placed on how to get someone else to pay for everything, then Mary Hill’s buildings would be as good as new . Being a property owner take work and money to maintain. If you can not do it on your own, then maybe you shouldn’t be a personal property owner.

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    WOW!!! This shows that the Devil is still busy. What are you going to do when they come for you. Mary Hill applied for a building permit which the city refused and failed to give. After they eat up all the big fish, what are you doing to do when they come for you? The subdidivision called Hobson vs surrounding subdivision call by other names there is not too many homes/folks left in the Hobson subdivision. What would Governor Mills Godwin say who helped the Prince Hall Masons finance to build this building. Only a portion of the building a rebuilt in 1950. 99% of the original building built in 1912 remains. Mary is only trying to save a historic landmark. The Federal case is still pending. Atleast Mary doesn’t give up when it is the right thing to do. By the way where are the Prince Hall Masons. GO MARY!!

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  • So What


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  • suffolkian1965

    Wow, I sure am glad she didn’t win the council election a few years back.

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  • pumpn_fe

    The new Jim Crow racism…. Does she really think these buzz words will accomplish her goals? She’s a psycho who by her own admission has psychological disorders… Please shut her down and demolish this building.

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  • jes

    “She also says the problems with the building have aggravated her “post traumatic slavery syndrome.””

    Ms. Hill you certainly look very good for someone who is old enough to have been a slave!

    Look at the corner stone in the picture, it says “rebuilt in 1952″. That building is only 50 years old and it has not been maintained for it to be in the shape it is in. Shame on you Ms. Hill!

    The city should go after Ms. Hill to recoup all cost associated with this law suit.

    Suggest Removal


    “When she did so, she said, the city issued a stop work order, “thus deliberately and intentionally delaying my ability to comply with the court,” she said. The stop work order was issued because she did not obtain a BUILDING PERMIT for the repairs”.
    Hello Ms. Hill…the key word here is BUILDING PERMIT. Did you include the fact that you failed to obtain one in your injunction? Why should you be any different from any other person when it comes to making changes to a structure? I was required to purchase a building permit when we renovated our home. Did I like it? No. Did I do it? Yes. Big difference there. Ms. Hill, I think you are wrong here.

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