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 periodically and will include a detailed description and photographs of the exterior and interior, if available.
15125 River Road, Brooklyn area
Circa 1770, early1820s
Carter’s Tavern is one of the best preserved of Halifax County’s historic ordinaries and has exemplary examples of early-nineteenth-century decorative painted finishes. The original story-and-a-half section of the frame house is thought to have been built before 1773 for Joseph Dodson. His son Joseph Jr. was licensed to operate an ordinary in the house in 1802 and 1804. Samuel Carter acquired the house in 1807, and by the early1820s had added a two-story wing that became the main section. Carter was licensed to keep a “house of private entertainment” several times between 1821 and 1835. Carter’s Tavern also served as an overnight stop on the River Road section of the main stage line between New York and New Orleans. Following Carter’s death in 1836, his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Carter, continued the business until her death in 1843, at which time the tavern closed. The Carters’ son Philemon Carter sold the property to Dr. Thomas Haynie in 1860, and the Haynie family owned it until 1941. The house then passed through several owners and went into a slow decline. Robert Holt Edmunds and his wife, Mary Lewis Rucker Edmunds, of Halifax County and Greensboro, North Carolina, rescued the house in 1972 and undertook a thorough restoration.
The restoration preserved the form and appearance of the house, but severe deterioration of the beaded weatherboard and chimneys necessitated replacement. The house with a gable roof has two exterior brick chimneys on its two-story section and one on the other. The front of the older section has flush sheathing, and the porch is framed into the roof.
The public room, a large room in the addition, has the tavern’s finest finishes, with a Federal mantel featuring reeded pilasters, reeded bands at the top and bottom of the frieze, and sunburst motifs. The mantel is marbleized, creating an interesting visual interplay with reeded elements and graining. Baseboards are marbleized, and wainscoting is grained.
A taproom, located in the original section, has horizontal board sheathing, exposed joists, and wainscoting. Built-in cupboards flank a Federal mantel that may have been a later addition or modification. The main stair has a square newel and square balusters. In the addition, an enclosed winder stair rises from the back room to the innkeeper’s private quarters.
On the second floor of the addition, the room above the public room was once reserved as a dining area for gentlemen travelers. This room also has a Federal mantel with a finish similar to the one in the room below and features marbleized baseboards and wainscoting with graining. Over the original section is a sleeping loft, and the addition has a large open attic room, thought to have been used for community dances.
As the Virginia architectural historian Calder Loth noted in the National Register nomination, Carter’s Tavern “provides a rare picture of the character and arrangement of this once common Virginia institution.” Carter’s Tavern is listed in the Virginia Landmarks Register and in the National Register of Historic Places.