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.
Mid-1700s, 1813, 1840
Mid-1700s, 1813, 1840
Riverside is believed to have been built by Moses Echols. The structure is mentioned in a 1766 deed listing the sale of the Echols dwelling and 274 acres of land to Samuel Hopson. If Riverside is indeed the same dwelling, it is one of the oldest standing houses in the county. The dwelling with its additions demonstrates a progression from mid-eighteenth-century to emerging nineteenth-century architecture.
The oldest section of Riverside is a story-and-a-half, hall and parlor dwelling set on a fieldstone foundation. This structure has a gable roof and an exterior brick chimney, and it is clad in beaded weatherboard. Inside, it reflects Federal architecture, with paneled wainscoting, double-molded panel doors, and a tall mantel in the parlor with fluted pilasters and a generous use of molding. Upstairs, sheathed with wide horizontal boards, is one room with an arched fireplace.
In 1809,the owner Charles Barker, who had acquired additional property, sold Riverside and 540 acres to Nathaniel Ragsdale and his wife, Ann Coleman Boswell Ragsdale. In 1813, the Ragsdales added a two-story, one-room-deep wing with an exterior brick chimney. The builder used beaded weatherboard and nine-over-nine pane windows on the first floor, matching the earlier structure. The first floor serves as a parlor and has paneled, marbleized wainscoting embellished with wood graining. Wood graining is also applied to window surrounds and doors. The tall Federal mantel in the parlor has relief carvings, including a double-handled Greek urn in the center panel and stylized palm trees on each end block. Narrow Tuscan columns support the end blocks. A door cut through from the original dwelling’s upstairs hall provides access to a bedroom with a plain mantel.
Another two-story, one-room-deep addition, circa 1840, constructed at the rear of the house, was joined to the original dwelling by enclosing a small porch that traditionally was used to store water from the well. This l-shaped addition with an exterior brick chimney is covered with weatherboard although not beaded. It has a winder stair in a small passageway located near the downstairs bedroom door. The mantels and baseboards in this section are Greek Revival.
A small front porch with a pedimented gable, added to the original house, was later replaced with a wider porch having a hipped roof. Riverside retains all of its original interior architectural elements and original exterior window shutters. A tall smokehouse, set on fieldstones, is the only dependency remaining.
Nathaniel Ragsdale died in 1859, and following his widow’s death in 1870, Riverside became the property of their only daughter Martha Frances Ragsdale, who married Dr. Ethelbert A. Coleman of Creekside. The Colemans’ oldest son, Nathaniel Ragsdale Coleman, inherited Riverside from his mother. The current owner, Jane E. Edmunds, has restored Riverside.