We welcome back the Ballard Clubhouse

Published 9:29 pm Friday, April 9, 2010

A piece of Suffolk’s history will be coming back soon, and we could not be more pleased.

It was wonderful to hear the news this week that the Ballard Clubhouse that once sat at the mouth of the Nansemond River will be rebuilt after being swept away in a November nor’easter.

Originally constructed in the 1930s, the clubhouse went unchanged — and undamaged — until Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

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For those 70-plus years before Isabel, the clubhouse served as a place for the home’s friends and family to enjoy warm spring and summer days on the river. Boats would dock alongside the house and those attending events might have shared a lie or two.

After Isabel, the owners cut through mountains of governmental and environmental red tape to rebuild. They succeeded in 2006 and the clubhouse was restored, only to be washed away again three years later.

The current owners this time made quick work of regulations, restrictions and any roadblocks, and Suffolk will once again have its Ballard Clubhouse restored.

As Virginia’s largest city, Suffolk is made up of villages, former townships and areas.

It is these areas, these villages, that make Suffolk what it is today and it is the special places and buildings like the Ballard Clubhouse that offer this city such a rich and storied history and culture.

There are far more people who have never been given the opportunity to attend a gathering at the Ballard Clubhouse than those that have. As a private gathering place, that’s the way it should be.

But all of Suffolk claims the clubhouse as its own.

Even though Suffolk is a city continuously fighting for a unified identity between those who say they are from Chuckatuck, Holland, Sleepy Hole or Eclipse, we can all take pride in the recent news about the Ballard Clubhouse.

We applaud the owners of the Ballard Clubhouse for having the drive and passion to restore the structure to its previous location. And, we also applaud the governmental leaders who helped make such a quick recovery possible.