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Historic Lynchburg

The Dawson House-301 Cabell Street

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301 Cabell Street

The Dawson House at 301 Cabell Street

This frame house was built in 1873 by Renny and Mary Dawson.  It was one of the first houses constructed during the building boom on Daniel’s Hill following its annexation to the city in 1870.  Mr. Dawson owned a tobacco box factory located nearby in the Upper basin (present-day site of Griffin Pipe).

The house is typical of the Victorian era but displays a number of architectural refinements that point to a knowledgeable architect or builder.  Although the Cabell Street front is only two bays wide, the façade is divided into two equal planes that stand at right angles to each other.  Both bays are covered by gables adorned with vergeboards with carved trim.

The tiny front porch occupied the space formed by the re-entrant of the façade.  Embellished with octagonal columns and pilasters the porch is polygonal in plan.  The unusually located front door-almost hidden from Cabell Street-comes into view as you approach the front porch.  This door and all of the windows are topped by shallow rectangular pediments.

Among the noteworthy architectural features of the interior are the original curved wooden handrail of the staircase and the fireplace mantels found in each room.

The Daniels Hill neighborhood is on the National Historic Register and the neighborhood has many homes of historic significance.  The neighborhood was established when the plantation, once owned by Dr. George Cabell, was carved up into lots and sold to individuals as the City of Lynchburg was growing.

 

Christ Episcopal Church-215 Cabell Street

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Christ Episcopal Church, Lynchburg Virginia

Interior of Christ Episcopal Church today

This post is a continuation of posts about the homes/businesses that were built in Daniels Hill during the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Christ Episcopal Church was built in 1870 as one of four satellite chapels to serve Grace Memorial Episcopal Church.  Built in a simple Gothic style, the arched windows of the former nave and chancel are still visible.  The building has a stepped gable roof of standing seam metal and brick siding (5-course American bond) with a brick and stone foundation.  According to insurance maps a two-story brick tower stood on the front of the building and a small one-story wing was on the rear, neither of which are present today.

By 1898 its use as a church was abandoned and it was no longer used as a place of worship.  In 1900, the property came into possession of William H. Baldcock, a grocer; and the firm of Baldcock & Thornhill, Grocers occupied the building.  In 1902 a two-story storefront, that is on the building today, was constructed.

In 1913 Baldcock sold the property to Macie White, wife of grocer James White.  The structure continued to serve as a grocery store until sometime between 1920 and 1925 when it became the Cabell Street mission for the Salvation Army.

In 1950 the Standard Notion Company began using the structure as a warehouse.  In 1954 Macie White left the property to her daughter, Estelle White McDaniel.

Christ Episcopal Church

View of Christ Episcopal Church interior from balcony.

The McDaniels continued to operate the Standard Notion Company through 1960.  Then, after years of neglect the current owner’s purchased the building.  They contemplated converting it to a residence but later decided to finish the space into an event venue for smallish (50-70) events such as weddings, showers, corporate events, etc.  The brick balcony on the front of the building and iron staircase were added by the current owners.  They installed new hardwood flooring and cleaned up the walls leaving the exposed brick and the remains of some of the old plaster. Work on the project has stalled but the hopes are that it will soon be operational and that once again people will be able to use and enjoy what was once Christ Episcopal Church.

Christ Episcopal Church is just one block from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast so if you are in need of a larger event space than we can hanlde let us know and we will see if this venue is available.  Of course we would be happy to address your overnight needs.

 

Bawdy Ladies Tour at Old City Cemetery

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Old City Cemetery

Grave at Old City Cemetery

Every other year the Old City Cemetery, in Lynchburg, VA, conducts it’s Bawdy Ladies of the 19th Century Tour.  This year’s tour will be held on Sunday, September 21, 2014 between 3:00-4:00 PM.

What is a Bawdy Ladies tour?  Historian Nancy Weiland will lead a tour of the cemetery grounds to the graves of some of Lynchburg’s “sporting ladies” of Buzzard’s roost and Fourth Street.  Stories describing the lives and lore of the ladies and their madams will highlight life in Lynchburg’s more savory neighborhoods and houses.  This is not a ghost walk, but rather a tour of the cemetery from a different perspective, describing some of it’s more colorful “inhabitants”.

Buzzard’s Roost is the area between Jefferson Street (Lynch street back then) and Commerce Street in the downtown section of Lynchburg.  This area once full of bars bordellos and gambling houses thrived as a hub of commerce, especially during the war when it was said many of these ladies operated as spies as are said to pass secrets.

These “sporting houses” as they were called in Lynchburg were often run by women, both white and free women of color.  As downtown industries expanded in the early 1900’s they pushed these business out of the downtown area to the red light district on Fourth Street in the Tinbridge Hill Neighborhood.

Many of the “sporting ladies” or working girls as we call them today often climbed the social ladder and became prominent citizens as they married politicians, police chiefs, mayors and other prominent citizens.  It is said that they helped bail the City of Lynchburg out of financial difficulties by donating money to a church who then in turn donated it to the City since the City refused to take their money directly.  Likewise a wealthy madam gave a small private college in Roanoke  a large endowment and the college.  During the tour in the Old City Cemetery you will hear stories of how these ladies, some of whom became very wealthy, lived and their contributions to the area.

This walking tour is free of charge, over uneven ground plus up and down hills and begins at the Old City Cemetery Gate House, located at 401 Taylor Street, or about two miles from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast.  Advance tickets are not required.  For more information contact the cemetery office at 434.847.1465.  We will see you there!

Cabell Street Row Houses

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Cabell Street Row Houses, Lynchburg, VA

Cabell Street Row Houses, circa 1899

In 1899 the Cabell Street Row Houses were built on Cabell Street.

The 600 block of Cabell Street was originally owned by Judge William Daniel, Jr. and remained in the Daniel family until 1881.  The owners of the property with the longest tenure after the Daniels were Dennis and Annie Morrison, who owned the lot for almost 60 years from 1883 until 1942.  Dennis Morrison was a merchant on Main Street and officer of the Lynchburg Diamond Ice Company.

The Morrison’s built the six row houses but never lived in any of them.  They kept them as rental properties for decades.  Tenants in the early 1900’s were primarily tradesmen and railroad workers.  In 1900 the last house in the row (623) was home to the pastor of the Cabell Street Baptist Church.

This group of six dwelling units is typical of many speculative townhouse developments built in the growing cities after the Civil War.  The urban renewal movement had been the cause for destruction of great quantities of such buildings during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

This group of row houses’ architectural style is Italianate with 7-course American bond brick construction.  The houses have a total of 18 bays, with 6 one-story tall, one-bay-wide porches and have a prominent wood cornice which rises above the roof as a parapet.  Entering through the front door, 13 foot ceilings and large windows throughout the house give the appearance of grandeur of other fine homes in Lynchburg.  The kitchen is located in the back of the house on the ground level.  The dining room is located in the front of the house on the midlevel.  Spacious but economical seems to have been the plan of the developers.

When the Cabell Street Row Houses were redeveloped in the 1980’s restrictive covenants were put into the deeds prohibiting them from being rental properties so the once tenant occupied row houses are now all owner occupied.

This post is one of a series of posts about properties around The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast which are located in the Daniel’s Hill Historic District.

Point of Honor, 112 Cabell Street

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Point of Honor

Point of Honor, the home of Dr.  George Cabell

Point of Honor stands on a tract of land cleared from the wilderness where Monacan Indians once camped, and where some 19th century Virginia’s most remarkable citizens lived.

Dr. George Cabell, Sr., began construction of the mansion in 1806 and was completed in 1815.  The sophisticated, but irregular shaped two-story, Federal-style mansion is constructed of stuccoed brick.  The façade is comprised of a three-bay center section flanked by two octagonal ended projections.  Features include matched polygonal bay windows and flanking doorways with arched fanlights, which reflected the era’s fondness for shapes beyond simple rectangles and squares, rich, vivid colors and great windows to enjoy the vista of the historic James River.

Born in 1776, Dr. George Cabell, Sr. attended Hampden-Sydney Academy and completed his medical training at the University of Pennsylvania.  He was a friend and personal physician to Patrick Henry and a frequent correspondent with his neighbor, Thomas Jefferson.

Kitchen at Point of Honor

Cooking demonstration at Point of Honor

Point of Honor  passed form the Cabell family when Dr. Cabell’s son William and his wife, Eliza Daniel Cabell, both died in 1830.  Her father, Judge William Daniel, Sr. inherited the mansion and left it to his son, Judge William Daniel, Jr. in 1839.  In 1928 the property was purchased and given to the city and used as a rec-center and in 1968 the home was acquired and restoration work was started to bring the home back to the way it looked when Dr. Cabell owned the property and in 1977 the home was opened to the public as Point of Honor.

Up until the City of Lynchburg annexed this parcel of land in 1870 the land Point of Honor sits on and the rest of the Daniels Hill neighborhood was located in Campbell County.  Since duels were illegal in the City of Lynchburg legends have it that duels fought for honor took place on the grounds of Point of Honor, which was outside the city limits, on the hillside overlooking the James River, thus giving this landmark its name.

About this time the once sprawling plantation of 737 acres was subdivided into building lots.  The main road, Cabell Street, which connected downtown Lynchburg to what is now Rivermont Avenue was the main road that ran through the neighborhood and was named after Dr. Cabell.

Blacksmith at Point of Honor

Blacksmith demonstration at Point of Honor

Today you can visit Point of Honor as it is operated by the Lynchburg Museum System as a house museum.  Throughout the year seasonal programs and activities are presented on the grounds.  These programs include cooking demonstrations prepared in the reconstructed open hearths and brick ovens of a plantation kitchen.  Each October, usually on Columbus Day weekend, the museum celebrates “Day at the Point” where admission if free and guest get to see people in period clothing demonstrating life’s activities of the 1800’s.  The property is decorated with period appropriate decorations in December.  While visiting Point of Honor you can purchase a ticket that will allow you access to the Lynchburg Museum on Court Street (in the old court house).

Point of Honor is located three blocks from The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and is a must see during your visit to Lynchburg.  It is open 7 days a week and guests get a guided tour of the main level mansion.  There is also an exhibit on medicine during the early 1800’s.

Point of Honor is open Monday-Saturday from 10:00am-4:00pm and Sunday from Noon-4:00pm. They can be reached by phone at:  434.455.6226.

404 Cabell Street, The Watt’s House

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Lynchburg VA, The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

This 1878 Italianate mansion is the largest and finest Italianate mansion in the Daniel’s Hill Historic District and is the largest Italianate home in the city of Lynchburg.

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The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

The Watts House, circa 1878

n the spring of 1875, Richard Thomas Watts purchased the two lots on Daniel’s Hill for the sum of $2,150.00, onto which he erected his residence.  Designed by R.C. Burkholder it was built between 1875 and 1878.

The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast

Richard Thomas (R.T.) Watts

Watts enlisted in the Civil War as a private in Company A, Second Virginia Cavalry until he was promoted to take on the responsibility of adjutant with White’s Battalion.  In May 1864, he was wounded at the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse and taken prisoner, then sent to Fort Delaware for the remainder of the war.  Upon returning home he started a partnership with his brother, James W. Watts, and brother-in-law, George M. Jones, to form one of the first wholesale houses in the city: Jones, Watts, & Co. Hardware.  In 1874 he married Emma T. Hurt, sold the company in 1887 and moved onto others interests, including coal mining and real estate investments.  R.T. and Emma had eleven children, with only five growing to adulthood.  R.T. died in 1910 bequeathing the house and lot to Emma, who died unexpectedly in 1911.  As she died without a will, her five children agreed that the youngest, Mary, would receive the house and lot.  In 1920 Mary married John Williams James, from Culpeper.  In 1928 they sold the property to Lena Fore who furnished rooms to travelers between 1938 and 1939, when the property was known as the Cabell and D Street Tourist Home.

The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is also the Watt's House

Enjoy the front porch of the Watt’s House

One of Daniels Hill’s most ornate mansions, the red brick Italianate was enlarged over the years.  The front porch addition, made popular at the end of the 19th century by Queen Victoria, terminates at the north end of the porte-cohere´.  The elaborate carriage house was constructed about 1909.  Surrounded by an iron fence with brick pillars, the house gives passersby a sense of dignity and opulence.

The original brick house was trimmed with three bay windows and with two small porches facing Cabell Street.  Six outbuildings dotted the property, which consists of 1.5 acres, along with two large frame structures fronting D Street.  By 1902 the Cabell Street façade of the main house had been renovated and the Queen Anne-style porch features, seen today, had been added.  Both the exterior and interior walls are constructed of three courses of brick.  The floor plan features a sweeping staircase in the entry foyer, two parlors, a library, 5 bedrooms and 4 full baths (that are original to the house) with wonderful claw footed tubs.  A living space for a servant can be found above the kitchen.  When the house was built each room had a fireplace, originally coal-burning, as this is how the house was heated.  About 1900 steam radiators were added, which have since been converted to hot water radiators.  Several of the original gas lighting fixtures remain in the house.  Rounded Romanesque arches frame windows and doors.  Pediments, scrolled brackets, pilasters, overhanging eaves and pillars were common on Italianate homes.

Mike and Kathy purchased the home in 2003.  Working weekly, 3-4 days per week, for almost five years the property has been restored to it’s former glory.  Except for the addition of central air conditioning and Wi-Fi the house is much as it was when R.T. and Emma raised their family here.  Most of the doors, window casings, light fixtures, mantels, plumbing fixtures and baseboards are original to the house as are the wainscoting in the foyer, dining room and library.

As stated by the Lynchburg Historical Foundation “this house is a fine example of preserving the past for the future”.