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.
1090 Glennmary Trail
South Boston area
Glennmary was built by Archibald Glenn, son of James Anderson and Isabella Wilson Glenn. In 1830, Archibald Glenn married Mary W. Cunningham, a member of a well-to-do North Carolina family. As a wedding gift, Glenn’s parents gave him a plantation of several hundred acres bordering the Dan River and Lawson Creek. Dabney Cosby Sr. began construction on Glennmary in 1837. The brick dwelling sits on a full English basement and is laid in Flemish bond with a waist-high water table laid in common bond. The last entry in Cosby’s workbook attests to the completion of the house, a wing, and kitchen. It states “payment in full of all demands up to this date 15th December 1840.”
Glenn supposedly drew the basic plan of the house, which encompasses many aspects of his parents’ Federal style 1797 Bloomsburg. Resembling Bloomsburg, this house has a wide hall on one side and two rooms on the other. The layout is the same on the second floor, except for a small room at the front. Unlike Bloomsburg, Glennmary has interior chimneys, deeply recessed pedimented gables, and a one-and a-half-story wing on one side.
Large twelve-over-twelve-pane double-sash windows, which dominate the front and rear elevations, are covered by wooden lintels with bullseye blocks. Fluted Doric columns and pilasters support the front portico. Joining the columns are stick balustrades with molded handrails. The entrance door with five horizontal raised panels has recessed panel surrounds and a three-light transom.
Inside the house, a stairway on one side of the hall rests on a paneled spandrel and features scrolled stair brackets and a turned newel. The stair has an especially tall rise, as the first-floor ceilings are approximately fifteen feet high. Most doors have their original locks, and several have original graining on raised panels. Mantels in each room reflect patterns found in Asher Benjamin’s The Practical House Carpenter. The dining room mantel with fluted columns, supporting a wide frieze, imitates features of the front portico. Other mantels have Greek key designs and various Greek Revival elements. A rear entrance has a portico identical to the front, and a pedimented stoop covers a rear entrance to the wing.
A variety of outbuildings once surrounded the dwelling, including a brick kitchen,smokehouse, dairy, carriage house, two stables, and sheds for storing coal and wood. Several barns, servants’ quarters, and an icehouse were located nearby. Today, the only remaining outbuilding is a smokehouse clad in beaded weatherboard with a door having two vertical chamfered panels.
Following Archibald Glenn’s death, his widow, Mary, married Emanuel Gerst, a Civil War veteran who served as a sergeant in the Cluster Springs Cavalry. When Mrs. Gerst died in 1878, her husband inherited Glennmary. A year later, he sold the property to the South Boston firm of Stebbins & Lawson and moved from the area.
Glennmary remained out of the family for nearly twenty years, although it is thought that Archibald C. Glenn, son of Archibald and Mary, lived here during this time. A Confederate soldier who served in the Black Walnut Dragoons, Company C., Third Virginia Cavalry, he died at Glennmary in 1905. His brother James A. Glenn II purchased the estate in 1898 and moved here from Glenwood with his first wife, Susan,with whom he had ten children. Following her death in 1904, Glenn married Florine Daniel, and they had two daughters. He died in 1913 and was buried at Glennmary with other members of the family. His widow continued to live here until 1930, and during this time the Glenns’ remains were moved to Oak Ridge Cemetery in South Boston.
Robert Fielding “Bob” Cage, tobacco auctioneer, artist, and sculptor, restored the house in the 1980s, and today,Glennmary is the home of his widow, Sandy Rusak Cage. The property is listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.