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Unexpectedly finding this old home was pleasurable and sad, pleasurable for obvious reasons and sad for the state of deterioration. The house is presented in sepia not for artistic but for practical reasons; the sky was terrible in the color photos, and sepia does allow for clearer display of details. The lengthy portion below is some of what I’ve discovered historically and architecturally about this home. It was, until recently, owned by the Virginia Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries and is located in the Dick Cross Wildlife Management Area. Apparently the title has been transferred to the Historical Society of Mecklenburg, which presumably is planning to revitalize the house.
The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places 27
July 1979 with
ID #79003053. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources ID is #058-0066
Elm Hill, a plantation home in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, was built around 1800, undoubtedly replacing an earlier home. The original landowner was Hugh Miller, of Prince George County, Virginia, who died in England in 1763. Before his death, he had probably constructed some sort of residence on the property. The property passed to his two daughters, Anne and Jean, the first and second wives of Sir Peyton Skipwith, known as the owner of Prestwould plantation also in Mecklenburg. The sits on a hill and before the construction of John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir overlooked the Roanoke River (now Lake Gaston). It once had elm trees 4 feet in diameter in front yard, hence the name.
It’s a frame 2 1/2 story house (if attic is counted) of molded weatherboard, T-shaped, each side of the main body with a wing and each wing with a small porch at the entrance. It has a gabled tin roof, originally shingle, with no dormers and with plain wood cornices. Evidence (according to the VDHR nomination form for the National Register) points to the wings once having hipped roofs. There used to be 2 pink sandstone chimneys, one on each side of the main body of the house and the wings. It’s possible the rubble in front is the chimney stones. The 17 windows, now boarded up, were 9/9 sash in main body and 9/6 sash in the wings. The shutters had open and shut type slats. At the front entrance was a one-story porch with round columns (possibly Tuscan) and round handrails; originally the house had a porch that extended to the cornice.
Overall there were 8 rooms with 10-foot ceilings; wainscoting was commonly used on the 1st level. Interior doors were 6-panel painted doors and made of heavy heart pine; the walls were plastered and the floors were also of heavy heart pine. The timbers were sawed with whipsaw and rafters had marks of broad-axe; shop made nails and wooden pegs were used throughout. A stairway in the back ell led to both 2nd level and the basement with hewn stone walls and wide oak floor boards. The basement contained a wine cellar, a storage room and the kitchen
Two other buildings are supposedly on the property—a smoke house probably dating from time of house and a crib or milk-house, possibly from the mid-19th.
If you finished this, thank you for your tolerance of my desire for information.
An early photo of Elm Hill in better condition with chimneys and porch is at www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Mecklenburg/Elm_H...
The VDHR nomination form to the National Register is at www.dhr.virginia.gov/registers/Counties/Mecklenburg/058-0...
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