United States history pretty much begins in Virginia with the founding of Jamestown in 1607.
As the colonization of Virginia moved westward, the Piedmont Valley, bounded by the Blue
Ridge mountains to the west and sloping eastward to the Tidewater became recognized for its
fine soils for agriculture, a “delicious” climate with four distinct seasons and an abundance of
natural resources. Thus, were many fine plantations created in the early 19th century including the homes of three of our first five presidents within an easy carriage ride of Charlottesville.
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier and James Monroe’s Ashlawn are
all historic landmarks near Charlottesville and open to the public. Virginia’s piedmont is also
home to many private properties that date from the late 18th century through the early 20th
century some of which occasionally come up for sale. Lovers of old homes appreciate the
history that took place within those walls and love the patina of the old floors, the worn
thresholds, horsehair plaster walls and timber peg joinery.
Great care is taken to preserve theold hand blown glass window panes, hinges and hardware that make maintaining such a homea lifestyle choice rather than merely shelter. Despite the inevitable inefficiency and compromises one makes in caring for a classic old home, aficionados are many as evidenced by the scores of publications, clubs and social media groups dedicated to owning, restoring and living in historic properties:
Orange County, Virginia located just north of Charlottesville is drenched in American history
from its founding in 1734 with important sites from the revolutionary war and as a hub of the confederacy during the Civil War. Many significant homes still exist from that period with at least 175 antebellum homes and buildings listed in Ann Miller’s fine book, Antebellum Orange.
Among the finest examples of Jeffersonian inspired architecture would be Frascati, c. 1823,
built for Phillip Barbour, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by John Perry known for his
work Thomas Jefferson on the University of Virginia. Frascati is in good company in Orange
County with several prominent estates owned at that time by Virginia’s statesmen including
Governor Barbour and President James Madison each within a pleasant hour’s ride.
Another way to enjoy the rich character of an old home is the increasingly popular practice of
repurposing old materials, often logs, floors and doors from a disassembled home are used in
the construction of an otherwise newer home. A great example is Dutchmont, also in Orange
County that was built using materials from an old mill in the Shenandoah Valley. One feels like
they are walking into an 1850’s log home with wide plank flooring, hand hewn beams and
timber peg joinery while enjoying a fabulous chef’s kitchen, luxurious baths and geothermal
Dutchmont is currently offered for sale on 100 acres in Orange County https://forsale.
Whether and old clapboard farmhouse on a gravel road, a fanciful Victorian in town or a
National Landmark like Frascati, if the idea of an older home tugs at your heart.
Charlottesville Real Estate
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