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Historic Lynchburg

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”.

 

 

The Battle of Lynchburg

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Battle of Lynchburg

Historic Sandusky, General Hunters Headquarters during the Battle of Lynchburg. Photo circa 1914

150 years ago today, although not a major battle, the city of Lynchburg heard cannon fire and gunshots.  The Battle of Lynchburg is technically a misnomer as the failure of the Union assault kept Lee’s supply lines open, which enabled him to fight for an additional eight months.

Battle of Lynchburg, General Hunter

General Hunter

It took more than three years for the war to reach Lynchburg.  Troop trains regularly pulled into Lynchburg’s Ninth Street Station bearing carloads of wounded Confederate soldiers, as the majority of the tobacco warehouses had been converted into hospitals, making Lynchburg the second-busiest hospital town in the south.  Lynchburg manufactured ammunition at it’s foundries and provided milled grain and flour from one of the area’s largest grist mills.  As a major supply route for the Confederate Troops, General Grant gave General Hunter orders to destroy Lynchburg thereby disrupting supplies to the Confederate Army and thereby ending the war.

As General Hunter marched through the Shenandoah Valley on his way to Lynchburg he ran into little resistance.  He took a page out of General Sherman’s march through the south as he burned and plundered the small towns and villages, including VMI in Lexington as he headed towards Lynchburg.  Meanwhile General Lee, knowing the importance of Lynchburg to the South sent General Jubal Early to defend the city as there were very few able bodied persons left in Lynchburg to mount any type of defense.

As General Early was racing to Lynchburg to defend the city, General Hunter and his men, on their way from Lexington to Lynchburg, arrived in the Town of New London where they were offered food and drink.   This slowed the advance on Lynchburg by several hours buying General Early several hours of time.  Finally, General Hunter arrives in Lynchburg and takes over Sandusky, a plantation in the northwest section of Lynchburg, as his headquarters.  While preparing his battle plan he sends out spies  to the city.

During the evening and night of June 17, 1864, empty trains kept pulling into the 9th Street Station to the cheers of the townspeople as the band played.   Word got back to General Hunter that dozens of trains full of Confederate Troops were arriving to defend the City.  Fearing that he was outnumbered General Hunter decided not to attack the City and retreated.  In a letter to General Grant, General Hunter states, “It had now become sufficiently evident that the enemy concentrated a force at least double the numerical strength of mine and what added to the gravity of the situation was the fact that my troops had scarcely enough  of ammunition left to sustain another well-contested battle.”

While there were a few small skirmishes in Lynchburg during the Battle of Lynchburg, the city was left standing and continued to supply the South for the remainder of the war.  Because of General Hunter’s retreat from the Battle of Lynchburg we have many buildings that may have been destroyed if he was able to complete his mission.  Sandusky stands today and has been restored to the way it looked when it was General Hunter’s headquarters.  It is open to the public.  Check the link for more information.

If you are interested in the Civil War, the surrender at Appomattox Courthouse celebrates its 150th year anniversary next spring.  We are now taking reservations, and I recommend you book early, if you plan on taking part of all the activities the National Park Service has planned for that week.  We are about 20 minutes from Appomattox Courthouse!

 

The Packet Boat Marshall

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The Packet Boat Marshall

A painting of the Packet Boat Marshall at Andrew Jackson’s funeral

Packet boats were small boats designed for domestic mail, passenger and freight transportation on North American rivers and canals.  Used, starting in the 17th century in Europe, packet boats in the United States were drawn through canals by teams of two or three horses or mules.  Compared to overland travel, the boats cut journey time in half and were much more comfortable.

The finest packet boat to travel the James River and Kanawha Canal, ‘the Queen of the James’ cost between three and four thousand dollars. 90′ long by 14′ at the beam with an 11″ draft, she was solidly built with creosoted wood rib frames on 12″ centers inside a hand formed iron hull that measured 3/16th of an inch thick.  The cabin interior was paneled with Dominican Mahogany and divided into staterooms (separate for men and women) and a main dining salon which converted into an area for fold down sleeping berths at night and a kitchen in which to prepare meals.  The Marshall was able to transport up to 60 passengers at a time.  The Packet Boat Marshall carried passengers from Richmond to Lynchburg, charging $8 for the 33 hour trip.  It averaged four miles per hour.

Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was mortally wounded, near Chancellorsville, VA on May 2, 1863.  His body was transported by train from Fredericksburg to Richmond to Gordonsville to Lynchburg.  The train arrived in Lynchburg, VA about 6:30 pm on the 13th of May at which time the remains were removed, placed in a hearse and a procession began to the Packet Boat Marshall Landing at Ninth Street and the Kanawha Canal (Behind what is now the Depot Grill Restaurant.).  The Packet Boat Marshall left Lynchburg about 10:00 pm for the final portion of the journey to Lexington, VA., Jackson’s final resting place.  This trip is what is most remembered about the Packet Boat Marshall.

In 1864, after being partially burned when General David Hunter’s army road through Lexington the Marshall was repaired.  General Robert E. Lee rode as a passenger in the late 1860′s.  In 1877 a flood breached the packet boat on the river bank above Lynchburg.  In 1900 Corbin Spencer came to own the beached packet and lived in it with his sister Mary.  In 1913 the Spencers survived a flood that washed away the wooden superstructure of the old packet.  In 1936 the metal hull of the Marshall was unearthed and prepared for placement in Riverside Park for Lynchburg’s Sesquicentennial.  Between 1970 and 2003 the remains of the Marshall hull lay neglected and exposed to the elements, resulting in severe deterioration.  In 2003 the Lynchburg Historical Foundation undertook steps toward the preservation of the deteriorating hull by building a roof over the artifact, which was followed by a structure to further protect the historical boat.

Packet Boat Marshall

The hull of the Packet Boat Marshall is stored in Riverside Park

Each June between 12-18 packet boats recreate the journey between Lynchburg and Richmond.  This reenactment demonstrates how the boats were used to transport tobacco and people between the two cities in the mid-1700′s until the late 1800′s.  If you would like to see the packet boats in the James River Batteau Festival this June, give us a call at 434-846-1388 to make your reservations now or book on-line.

The History of Daniels Hill

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Point of Honor

Point of Honor, in Daniels Hill

Beginning this month The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast’s blog will present the history of one of Lynchburg, Virginia’s Historic Districts, Daniels Hill, followed by descriptions and histories of a few of the houses that comprise that historic district.

This month we begin with the history of Daniels Hill, where The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast is located.

Daniels Hill takes its name from William Daniel, Jr., who once owned most of the peninsula of land between the James River, Blackwater Creek and modern-day Hollins Mill Road.  Daniel was a prominent antebellum lawyer, legislator and judge on the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.  He lived at Point of Honor and built “Rivermont,” the Greek Revival mansion on F Street.

Daniels Hill was first developed as a residential neighborhood in the late 1840′s, when Judge Daniel began subdividing and selling his plantation.  Most of what is now Daniels Hill was within Campbell County until 1870 when it was annexed to the city.

In the mid-1870′s Daniels Hill began a building boom that transformed the neighborhood from largely rural farmland to a bustling residential suburb.  Much of the growth of Daniels Hill was fueled by industries in its backyard.  The upper basin of the James River and the lower blocks of Cabell Street were major industrial centers from the 1850′s until well into the 20th century.  A tobacco factory, lumber yard and foundry are just a few of the businesses that called Daniels Hill home.  It was illegal to have duels within the city limits and Daniels Hill up until 1870 was outside the city.  Urban myth has many duels being conducted on the grounds of Point of Honor until the neighborhood became part of the City of Lynchburg.

Among Lynchburg’s historic districts Daniels Hill is unique for the diversity of its architecture.  Styles range from Federal to Italianate to Georgian Revival and Queen Anne.  Types include opulent mansions, modest working-class homes, rowhouses, servant’s quarters, churches, stores and factories.  As the wealthy white families moved to “suburbia” starting in the 1930′s wealthy black families (doctors, lawyers and business owners) moved into the neighborhood.  After the civil rights movement, these wealthy black families also moved to suburbia and the downtown neighborhoods fell into disrepair as the poor and undesirable elements moved into these downtown neighborhoods.  Today, Daniels Hill as well as many of the downtown neighborhoods are being restored and once again becoming the desirable.  Over the years dozens of homes were lost due to neglect, but today there is a real sense of pride in the residents of this neighborhood.  Many of the smaller homes were built by the owner’s of the larger homes.  These homes were for the household staff of the wealthy or for their workers at the foundry.  From the beginning, Daniels Hill’s residents were comprised of people from every socio-economic class.  Speaking of diversity, there were bootlegers, working girls (and brothels) and speakeasys in the neighborhood during certain periods of our history.

Cabell Street is the main street running through Daniels Hill.  Cabell Street was named in 1875 to honor Dr. George Cabell, who built Point of Honor in 1815 and lived there until his death in 1823.  Cabell Street was first paved with brick in 1895.  Dr. Cabell was Patrick Henry’s personal physician.  The city and neighborhood returned the street to its original brick, by removing layers of blacktop, in 2007-2008.  Today Point of Honor is part of the Lynchburg Museum and it is open to the public.

The core of Daniels Hill-one block on either side of Cabell Street from A to H Streets-was designated an historic district in 1976.

Next month we will discuss the history and story of our house located at 404 Cabell Street, the Watt’s house.