Halifax County is rich in historic homes. In accordance with the Society Mission Statement to preserve historical information for dissemination to the public, the Society may assist homeowners through the arduous process of documenting and helping to obtain the national recognition deserved of these homes.
Currently there are twenty-seven county properties that have been listed on either or both the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places as well as five groups of homes and public buildings designated as “Historic Districts” in Virginia.
For additional information on the houses, please see An Architectural History of Halifax County, Virginia, published by the Halifax County Historical Society.
One home will be added each month and will include a detailed description and photographs of the exterior and interior, if available.
Cedar Grove, thought to have been built by William Smith in the late 1770s, may be one of the oldest surviving houses in the county according to the National Register nomination. The one and a-half story house was acquired by merchant James Warren in 1801 and given to his daughter Sarah and her husband, planter and later mill owner, Jacob Blane, Sr., in the 1830s. Cedar Grove is significant for its eighteenth-century domestic architecture and notable stylistic and construction features of the house and outbuildings. Among these early details are hewn and mill-sawn framing members,
L-shaped corner posts, wrought nails, tarred fish-scale wood shingles and the existence of hex signs incised on a corner brace.
Another example of early construction is evident in the east chimney’s fireplace, which featured a high, wide arch that extended approximately five feet from the floor (still evident on interior of chimney). The area under the arch was filled in to create a rectangular fireplace. The nomination notes that the Federal mantel for which the alteration was made, would have been fashionable in the 1820s to 1830s and helps establish the period of the change. The hall-parlor residence with winder stair was converted to a central-hall plan with open string stair in the mid-1830s. An addition was built onto the back at this time. Cedar Grove underwent a second, more limited phase of interior remodeling around 1840 to 1850 when Greek Revival “eared” door surrounds, dormers and larger front windows were added. These changes most likely occurred at the time widower Jacob Blane married his second wife.
Around 1850 an elaborate one-story, Gothic-style front porch with “icicle” trim was added and an office building with wide overhanging eaves, ornamented with Gothic Revival trim, was constructed in the front yard. The nomination states that the presence of these details on the porch and the office of a saw mill owner, suggest they were fabricated at Jacob Blane’s mill and served as an advertisement for his business. The nomination also refers to the office’s interior trim work: tall baseboards, window apron designs and chamfered two-panel door that may reflect work completed by the Day workshop in Milton NC. Owners Ned and Donna Strange purchased Cedar Grove in 1970 from the great-grandson of Sarah and Jacob Blane, Sr.