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Historic Mansion For Sale - $385,000

6000 sq. ft. 1847 Greek Revival Brick Mansion on 3.7 acres.

Rare opportunity to own an historical, architecturally significant, un-renovated gem with original interior trim. On market for the 2nd time in 167 years.

Mountain Home has been accepted into both the National and Virginia Registries of Historic Places, which allow for potential tax credits of up to 45% against renovation costs. Click here for interesting details of the successful application.

Poignant 1862 diary of 15 year old girl recounts civil war drama enfolding on and around the Mountain Home property.

Renovated slave cottage, outbuildings, and mountain views, adjoining Appalacian Trail and 3200 acre National Zoological Park.

Call Nevill Turner of Strange & Co. Realtors, to arrange private showing
(540) 675-1935 or e-mail at nev@yahoo.com)

Owners hold Virginia Real Estate licences.

Maral S. Kalbian and Margaret T. Peters
January 24, 2007

Mountain Home at 3471 Remount Road is located between Chester Gap and Front Royal in Warren County, Virginia. The two-story, three-bay Greek Revival-style brick dwelling was constructed in 1847 by Samuel Beck Gardner, prominent farmer and Warren County justice. It is one of the county's best preserved examples of the Greek Revival style expressed in brick and one of a very few extant buildings of this style in the region to have borrowed directly from popular pattern books of the period. Mountain Home today stands on a 3.7-acre parcel, although the original holdings of Samuel Gardner in the county encompassed nearly 700 acres. Strategically sited on the primary road from the county seat of Front Royal to Chester Gap, the property was well-placed to observe movements of both Confederate and Federal forces during the Civil War, activity that is vividly described in the diary of one of Samuel Gardner's daughters. The young Ann Gardner provides a rare glimpse of Civil War era activity in one of the most fought-over regions of military activity. Mountain Home, although well placed amidst military activity, fortunately escaped significant damage as it was not close to any serious combat encounters.

Mid-19th-century census records reveal that the Mountain Home property was valued at $2600 in 1850; local land tax records confirm that generous appraisal. The 1850 census shows Samuel Gardner as a 36-year-old farmer; his household listed his wife Sarah, age 33, daughter Ann, age 4, and son Sam D. along with his mother, age 57. His estate was greatly expanded by the 1860 census and sadly his young son had died. Two more daughters are listed including Mary and Rebecca. His real property was given as $55,200, an astronomical evaluation for that time period and probably indicative of his acquisition of more acreage in the agriculturally rich area. A later record in the Warren County deed books indicate that there was a substantial grove of fruit trees next to his dwelling, along with what was likely an overseers dwelling. His personal estate, which would include everything besides his real estate, was recorded as $33,268, indicating large live stock holdings, extensive farm equipment, slaves and fine household goods.

An important primary source for the stately farm estate is the aforementioned diary of Ann Gardner when she alludes to "our beautiful and much beloved Mountain Home." She lovingly describes the kitchen, smoke house, barn and spring house that stood on the property as well as the surrounding mountains and the house's fine portico.

By 1870, the census taker valued Gardner's real estate at $50,000, a sum almost unheard of in the years immediately following the Civil War. His personal property, however, had declined to $4,200. Architectural evidence suggests that a rear addition was made to the dwelling house in 1869, which may have led to the elevated real estate appraisal. There do not appear to have been any other substantial additions or alterations to the mansion house as it retains its historic configuration today.

The exterior brick walls are laid in a 5-course American bond pattern and feature flat jack arches over the 6/6-sash wood windows and a stepped brick cornice. The gabled roof is covered in standing-seam metal and contains two interior-end brick chimneys. The fa?ade is dominated by a two-story, two-level, three-bay pedimented portico with round brick columns, a plain entablature and plain balustrade on the first floor and hexagonal wooden columns with a plain balustrade, a wide entablature and a denticulated cornice on the second floor. The concrete steps with parapeted sidewalls appear to date to the first quarter of the 20th century. The central front door has a three-light transom and sidelights contained within a Greek Revival-style door surround with fluted trim and a Greek key motif. The house rests on a raised stone foundation that contains small windows. A two-story frame ell, covered in wide German-lap wood siding, was added to the rear of the main brick block in 1869. It features an interior brick flue, paired 4/4-sash windows, and a plain wooden friezeboard with brackets. Two-story side porches off the ell have been enclosed and a one-story lean-to kitchen wing extends off the rear.

The interior of Mountain Home is well preserved and generally contains its original flooring, woodwork, and plastered walls and ceilings. The brick section reflects the Greek Revival style, popular during the mid-19th century, in its mantels and trim. The interior and exterior front door surround as well as some of the interior window and door trim are based on the designs from Asher Benjamin?s 1833 pattern book entitled, The Practice of Architecture. The rear ell features woodwork reflective of the Victorian era.

The center-passage, single-pile floor plan of the house, often used in Greek Revival-style dwellings, is repeated on the second floor as well as in the full basement. The rear ell contains a large dining room on the first floor and bedrooms on the second. The extension off the ell contains the kitchen and other service areas.

Gardner's household was substantially altered, with the death of his daughter Ann in 1864 while a student at Hollins School in Roanoke and the death of his wife Sarah. The 1870 census lists his second wife as Mary H. Gardner, age 46. Strangely, in the 1870 census report, for the only time, the surname was spelled "Gardiner" rather than "Gardner."

The 1880 Census records Samuel B. Gardner, farmer, as age 66 living with his wife Mary and his 26-year old daughter, Rebecca. Rebecca was married soon after to Nelson S. Waller, a local schoolteacher. His other daughter, Mary Roberta, referred to in the census as "M. Roberta," would soon marry Charles A. Macatee, a lumber dealer from Maryland. Gardner died sometime between 1880 and 1884 when the deed book records a division of his estate between his two surviving daughters with his widow, Mary, continuing to reside in the Mountain Home mansion house. Mary Gardner survived Samuel, but was deceased by 1900 as she no longer appears in the census records. In the division of the estate, Gardner?s widow retains her dower interest in a small parcel and the dwelling house; on her death the legal document indicates that Rebecca Waller would deed her interest to her sister Mary Roberta Macatee. However, records indicate that it was Rebecca Gardner Waller and her husband who would end up with the dwelling house. The Wallers are recorded in the 1900 census while the Macatees had by then left the county.

Mountain Home is a remarkably unaltered mid-19th-century brick dwelling that retains a high level of sophisticated Greek Revival detailing. The property also includes several late-19th-century frame sheds, a log slave quarters that has been covered in brick, two garages, and several sheds. The old roadbed of Route 522, known historically as the Chester Gap Road, is located in the front yard, down a set of concrete steps.

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