Architecture Sites: Civil War and Reconstruction

 

The onset of the Civil War (1861-1865) brought an end to the prosperity

of the region with the area suffering much devastation during the conflict.

Located in the heart of Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby's "confederacy," which included portions of Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William count-

ies, the Crooked Run Valley was constantly traversed by both Union and Confederate troops. Several small skirmishes occurred within the valley,

which was the scene of numerous troop maneuvers. Many dwellings in

the valley, including Brookside, Belle Grove, and dwellings in Paris, were frequented by Mosby and his men as headquarters or provided billeting, or

at least food and entertainment, for the Confederate Rangers throughout

the war. Some of these houses were also occupied by Union troops who

sought to control the area. Emmanuel Church was occupied by both

Union and Confederate forces during the war and was used as a hospital

as well.

 

The antebellum progress enjoyed by valley residents was cut short by the

effects of the war. Little construction occurred until the late nineteenth

century as residents slowly recovered economically. Examples of Italianate, Queen Anne, and vernacular I-houses are located within the historic dis-

trict and date to this period of recovery and reconstruction in the valley

(1865-1917).

 

Initially, efforts after the war concentrated on regaining productivity on

the farms and in the villages of the Crooked Run Valley. By about 1880,

new construction was occurng in the region with buildings reflecting

nationally popular architectural styles, such as the Queen Anne and

Italianate styles. Most construction during this period again focused on

dwellings and associated farm buildings and outbuildings. Balloon frame construction, which utilized lighter, mass produced framing members, re-

placed heavy timber framing; stone was still utilized for building founda-

tions and outbuildings. Vernacular forms, such as I-houses (a single-pile,

center-passage dwelling of two stories), were also popular in the valley.

 

Some residents "modernized" their homes during the late nineteenth century

with Victorian-era details such as scrollwork and brackets on porches and cornices. An example of a pre- existing home that was remodeled during

the late nineteenth century is Simper's Mill House (also Yerby's house).

Around 1870, a Queen Anne inspired pyramidal-roofed tower was added

to the comer of the Simper's house, which was originally constructed about

1800, and decorative brackets and scrolls were added to the cornice. The

John Delaplane house, constructed in 1880 and located near the Fleetwood

Mill on Route 17, is a good example of a late-nineteenth-century Italianate-

style dwelling. The two-and-a-half-story brick dwelling features arched

openings above the windows and doors, a lunette-shaped opening in the

gable front, and a bracketed cornice.

 

Dwellings and commercial buildings also were being constructed in Paris

and Delaplane during the late nineteenth century. Most notable in Paris are

the former Lewis Strother (later Lindsey's) store at 662 Federal Street. The

two-and-a-half-story frame building was originally constructed in 1890 as

a store with boarding rooms above. The gable-end front of the building con-

tains an entrance on the south end, which formerly led to the upper rooms,

while a storefront entrance with double-leaf paneled doors and transom

above flanked by large 212 windows with pocket shutters is located in the northernmost bays. While the building exhibits Greek Revival influence in

its overall form, cornice boards, and pedimented front, which holds a dis-

tinctive oval-shaped louvered vent, Victorian-era details are also noted in

the use of decorative brackets in the eaves and on the porch. Slise Haynes,

a local carpenter and contractor, is credited with the construction of the

store. Haynes was also responsible for the construction of another impor-

tant late-nineteenth-century building in Paris, the Trinity United Methodist

Church (formerly, Methodist Episcopal Church) at 684 Federal Street.

Built in 1892, the church is distinguished by a tall, sanctuary section that

is covered by a front-facing gable roof and a two-story belfry tower locat-

ed at the southeast comer. A double-leaf entrance with a pointed arch sur-

round and stained glass transom is located in the belfry, which is covered

by a pyramidal roof with bell cast eaves. The belfry roof is covered with

pressed metal shingles, while the rest of the church roofs are clad with

standing-seam metal. The front gable end, which features decorative wood-

en brackets under its eaves, holds three pointed arch openings with wood-

en tracery windows of stained glass. The Old Schoolhouse, located at 678

Federal Street, was built in 1893 and, though it has been heavily remodel-

ed, retains some of its overall Gothic Revival appearance including its

steeply pitched cross-gable roof. The school was closed around 1938 and

later served as a dwelling.

 

In Delaplane, three commercial structures and two dwellings were con-

structed during the last half of the nineteenth century. The original portion

of the dwelling at 3011 Delaplane Grade Road was built in 1868. This

dwelling, known as the Switchboard House, later housed the first telephone switchboard operation in Delaplane . The dwelling at 2825 Delaplane

Grade Road, built around 1870, is a good example of a typical I-house, a vernacular form that was popular during the late nineteenth century and

continued into the twentieth century. Of the three commercial structures,

one has since been converted into a residence, one was originally construct-

ed as a cattle scales, and the third continues to serve a commercial purpose.

The latter, constructed about 1880 and located at 3044 Rokeby Road, is the

Old Delaplane store (later Turner Seaton's and Shacklett's store) and now

houses the post office. In 1898, the Westminster Presbyterian Church

was built on the northeastern edge of the village of Delaplane. This church building was replaced in 1950 by the present concrete block church at the

site (2851 Dclaplane Grade Road). The adjacent cemetery is known as Westminster Cemetery and contains the tombs of some of the families

associated with Delaplane. The church has recently been sold and is being renovated for office and community use.

 

During the first half of the nineteenth century, the handful of buildings

that made up the settlement of Scuffleburg, which prior to the Civil War

had been known as Mechanicsville, included a blacksmith shop and two wheelwrights. About 1825, Benjamin O'Rear, a farmer who lived near

Paris, is said to have invented a threshing machine that was built by Mechanicsville craftsmen. John Turner and Frank Ash, who were wheel-

wrights, completed the wooden frame of the machine, while Orange

Daughtery, an African-American blacksmith, produced the ironwork.

 

During the late nineteenth century, a new commercial and residential build-

ing was constructed in the settlement of Scuffleburg. Around 1880, John W.

Kincheloe built his dwelling and grocery store at the north end of Scuffle-

burg Road (Route 826), which at the time was known as Summerset Mill

Road and continued through to present-day Route 17 emerging just south

of the house known as Delaplane Manor. The Kincheloe building, now clad

with stucco, retains its curved brackets and storefront appearance. Randolph Sutphin's Store (located south of Kincheloe's), the original portion of which

was constructed ca. 1800 and may be of log construction, and William Mar-

tin's early-nineteenth-century log dwelling and smokehouse located on the

east side of the road, completed the architectural complex of the settlement. Martin, who served on the jury that convicted John Brown in Charles Town

in 1859, ran his wheelwright shop in Scuffleburg for nearly 40 years before moving further south. At present the three dwellings, Martin's smokehouse,

and one shed associated with the Sutphin property are the only historical

resources extant in Scuffleburg. The name of the settlement may relate to

the manner in which visitors must "scuffle" in and out given the narrow

passage of the road.

 

During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, Afncan-

American communities began to emerge in Fauquier County and often

centered around institutions such as churches or schools. Villages such as Ashville, located south of the Crooked Run Valley, were predominantly

African American in population and became self-sufficient communities.

In the Crooked Run Valley, however, this does not seem to have been the

case. Though black residents tended to live near one another, they often

lived among white residents, some of whom tried to assist the newly freed

citizens. Local historian Eugene Scheel records that in the period immediate-

ly following the Civil War, John Holland, owner of Brookside, which serv-

ed as Mosby's last valley headquarters, requested protection from the state Freedmen's Bureau commissioner because a neighbor had threatened to

"burn down" his mill because he rented a room in the mill to a black man.

Holland also stated, though its accuracy is not known, that some houses in

the area had been burned because people were renting to black residents.

While not all white residents were eager to assist the newly freed slaves,

there seems to have been evidence of a cooperative spirit that would help

lead the valley into a new era. By the late nineteenth century, several Afri-

can American families were living in and around Scuffleburg, including

Robert and Mollie Smith Adams, who married in 1898 and moved to the

small settlement.

 

By the late nineteenth century, African Americans began to own property

in the Crooked Run Valley, though because of limited economic opportun-

ities ownership was still quite rare. These residents continued in their roles

as the area's laborers, mechanics, wheelwrights, and cabinetmakers, and

became farmers in their own right. In 1880, an African American church

was constructed in Paris. The building, which was located on the west side

of Republican Street near its north end, was frame with a front gable end,

a centrally located double-leaf entrance, and 919 windows. Prior to the construction of this building, an African-American congregation had met

in the free meetinghouse in Paris. The frame church building burned in the

late twentieth century. In 1929, a one-room school for black children was constructed on the east side of Route 17 just north of Delaplane. Set on a

concrete foundation, the frame building is clad with weatherboard, covered

by a metal gable roof, and still retains its row of six 919 wood sash windows

on the north side. A single entrance is located on the west end. The school,

which closed around mid-century, has been converted to a residence.

 

Architectural resources recorded in the Crooked Run Valley and dating

from the early to mid-twentieth century include schools, churches, as well

as dwellings and associated farm buildings. New architectural styles ap-

pearing in this period include the Colonial Revival style and the Craftsman

style. The Queen Anne style was popular into the early part of the twentieth century and vernacular forms, such as the I-house, continued to appear, as

well, often with a side wing addition. Some I-houses from the period are also

embellished with center-front gables or one-story, full-width front porches

with scrollwork, but others were built with little exterior decoration.

 

Notable among the early-twentieth-century dwellings in the valley is the

stone house constructed on the C.E. Strother farm, Valley View. The two-

story dwelling, located on the north side of Route 688 (Leeds Mulor Road),

was built around 1925 by George Thomas Strother, formerly of Markham.

Strother purchased both the land on which the present house and farm build-

ings are located, as well as the former Simper's (Yerby's) farm located to

the west. The latter included the Simper's miller's house, a slave quarters

or secondary dwelling, several farm buildings, a blacksmith shop, and the

mill building itself. The stone used in the construction of the Strother house

was gathered from the surrounding farmland; the millstone from Simper's

mill, which had ceased operations around 1910, was used in the archway

above the front door and above a fireplace opening. The symmetrically

balanced design of the Colonial Revival-style house is distinguished by its

use of stone jack arches above doorways and window openings, and its cen-

trally located entrance portico that features Tuscan columns, sidelights, and

an elliptical fanlight. The farm buildings at Valley View, as well as several

of the buildings at the Simpel's farm, were constructed around 1940 by

Charles Edward ("Eddie") Strother, the current owner's father. Valley View

Farm is an important element within the Crooked Run Valley Rural Historic District as an active farmstead.

 

Another distinctive Colonial Revival-style dwelling is the house located at Oakwood on the north side of Route 724 (Pleasant Vale Road). The land on

which Oakwood is located was part of George Adams's property in 1776,

which he had inherited from his father John Adams. Around 1790, Samuel

Ashby owned the property and built a frame house on the property. The site

of the early house is believed to be in the west yard of the present dwelling.

The stone house, constructed around 1930, is three bays wide with acentral-

ly located entrance, paired 616 windows, and classical detailing on the entry portico.

 

As previously mentioned, I-houses were often embellished with Colonial

Revival detailing such as columned porches and elaborate cornices. An

example is the ca. 1912 frame dwelling located at 3038 Delaplane Grade

Road, which features a three-bay front porch with Tuscan columns. Early-twentieth-century I-houses that were probably constructed as tenant houses

were also recorded, most of which lack architectural embellishments. The dwelling on the DiZerega family's Oakdale Farm is a two-story, stucco-

clad example that lacks all architectural decoration. The tenant house form-

erly associated with Woodside on the Delaplane Grade Road (not to be con-

fused with Woodside on the Rokeby Road and formerly owned by the Mar-

shall family) likewise is characteristic of the I-house form (two stories,

three bays, gable roof) and is largely devoid of original architectural detail-

ing.

 

The American Foursquare form, which is often associated with the Colon-

ial Revival though these forms may also be associated with the Craftsman

or Bungalow style, is not particularly common in the Crooked Run Valley,

though a notable example is the residence known as the Fleetwood Mill Manager's house, located on the east side of Route 17 across from the Fleet-

wood mill building. This two-and-a-half-story frame dwelling, purportedly

a Sears and Roebuck mail order house, was erected around 1920. The dwell-

ing is covered with a hipped roof over a square-shaped form and features a

single gable-roofed dormer on the front and a one-story screened porch.

Later additions have been made to the rear of the dwelling, yet it retains

the distinctive characteristics associated with this architectural form.

 

In addition to the Delaplane School that was constructed for African Amer-

ican children in the area, a school for white children was constructed around

1915. Also known as the Delaplane School, the building was located on

the southeast side of the Delaplane Grade Road (Route 712) just south of

the Westminster Church. Exhibiting distinctive design with Craftsman in-

fluence, the school was distinguished by a two-story tower, complicated

rooflines, and a center-arched vestibule. The four-room school, which

closed around 1925, burned in the 1990s. The Delaplane School most like-

ly replaced tile smaller Rock Hill School, constructed around 1870 and

located just a short distance north of the Delaplane School on Route 712.

The one-story, frame building, which closed as a school in 1914. has been converted into a residence.

 

Because of economic changes in the valley and the concentration on hay

rather than wheat and grains, few industrial buildings were constructed in

the valley after the mid-nineteenth century. An exception is the ca. 1910

mill built in Delaplane on Rokeby Road just west of the post office. Known

as Shacklett's mill, this was a gasoline-powered grain mill that ground corn

and feed; the mill was probably used by local farmers who loaded their

grain onto the train and shipped it to outside markets. The two-story, gable-

end, stucco-clad, frame building sits on a concrete pier foundation. Though

the building is currently vacant, it remains intact.

 

 

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