The Paxton Trust has announced that the historic Carlheim Manor is back under its stewardship, and plans are underway for a major restoration.
Carlheim Manor has been used by the Paxton Trust’s primary tenant, The Arc of Loudoun, for more than 10 years for its biggest annual fundraiser, the Shocktober haunted house. An announcement from the Trust points to its lease with the Arc, which required that it prevent Carlheim from deteriorating from the condition it was in when the lease was signed in 2008.
“Unfortunately, years of wear and tear from the traffic generated by Shocktober, in addition to the natural decay of the home from it standing vacant for most of each year, have created concerns for public safety as well as the historic preservation of such an important Leesburg landmark,” according to the statement. “[In] recent discussions between the Paxton Trust and the Arc of Loudoun, it became clear that the Arc did not have funds available to maintain Carlheim Manor. Rather than require the Arc to divert funds from its mission of helping children in need, the Paxton Trust proposed, and the Arc agreed, that the Paxton Trust would take back possession of Carlheim Manor and release the Arc from its obligation to maintain Carlheim Manor, in exchange for a small distribution of this year’s Shocktober proceeds that will be used to address urgent maintenance issues.”
Trustee Paige Buscema said it was still too soon to determine whether any needed restoration work will prevent the Shocktober fundraiser from going on as planned next year. She said the haunted house installations must first be removed from the mansion so structural engineers can conduct an assessment of the building and determine what work needs to be immediately.
In recent months, much has been made of plans for the Paxton property, with some questioning the intentions of both the Trust and INMED, which at one point was exploring a special exception to operate a school. The Trust has maintained that the Arc remains a critical part of the property’s future going forward, but that it was moving towards a “mosaic” approach to the property, which would not be home to just one use or nonprofit.
The announcement notes the work underway on a comprehensive plan for the entire Paxton estate.
The objectives of the plan, it said, include a new state-of-the-art center specifically designed for the Arc, and the renovation of Carlheim Manor.
“Bringing the campus up to date, providing the Arc of Loudoun the infrastructure they need to grow their services for children in need here long term, and making sure that Carlheim Manor can stand proud in the service of children for another 100 years is of the utmost importance to us and the community at large,” Buscema stated.