An Old-House Tour of Strasburg, Virginia
A wide variety of historic architecture can be found in this Civil War crossroads.
Story and photos by James C. Massey & Shirley Maxwell
The War Between the States turned peaceful Strasburg into a bitterly contested battleground. This memorial obelisk, erected by Confederate veterans in 1896, sits in the Presbyterian cemetery.
Our rural hometown, just west of the Blue Ridge and 80 miles from D.C., boasts houses dating from the 1790s to the 1930s. In the 1750s, when Strasburg was born, the town could be reached only via the Great Valley Road, an ancient Indian trail that Germanic and Scots–Irish settlers adopted to travel from Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah Valley to Kentucky. (It’s now part of U.S. 11.) Marcy McCann, who lives over her East King Street art shop, says, “Out of my front window, I can see the whole history of the town.”
Published in: Old-House Journal September 2014
The 1755 Hupp House is the oldest in town and is still occupied by Hupp descendants. Built of local gray limestone, it is a Germanic center-chimney “bank” house, set on a steep slope next to the Old Valley Pike. A portion of a spring-fed stream runs through a cellar channel to cool milk and food.
Strasburg’s early log homes were set on dressed limestone foundations. The Dosh House was built ca. 1795. Unlike most old log houses, it has not been covered in weatherboards. Yielding to English influence, the chimney location has moved from the center to the interior of an end wall (although exterior chimneys are more common in this period).
As is often the case, the log Sonner House has been sheathed in weatherboards. The earliest portion dates to 1757, while the main two-story house was constructed in 1820. A newer addition is to the left. Modern standing-seam sheet-metal roofing is common here.
With a cubic form and console cornice, Walnut Hill is a center-hall Italianate built soon after the Civil War, ca. 1870. Its generous mix of stylistic influences includes a rare late use of staggered Flemish bond brickwork and the ca. 1940 semicircular porch.
Late Queen Anne
The postwar economy delayed the arrival of the Victorian Queen Anne style in Strasburg. This 1892 house has subdued but characteristic multiple roof hips and gables, as well as a mix of cladding materials and ornamentation. Note the round-butt shingles in the top gable.
Colonial Revival style arrived with the 20th century, as in this 1912 example, which sports a classical wraparound porch. In plan, it is a large center-hall Foursquare with multiple pedimented dormers.