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Old-House Online » Old-House Tips, Restoration Stories, & More » Historic Places » Historic Neighborhoods » An Old-House Tour of Strasburg, Virginia

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.

    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.”

    German House

    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.

    1755 German Hupp House in Strasburg, Virginia

    Log Dwelling

    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).

    18th-century log house in Strasburg, Virginia

    Weatherboard Siding

    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.

    Weatherboard-sided 18th-century house in Strasburg, Virginia

    Brick Italianate

    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.

    Brick Italianate house in Strasburg, Virginia

    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.

    Queen Anne house in Strasburg, Virginia

    Colonial Revival

    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.

    Colonial Revival house in Strasburg, Virginia
    Published in: Old-House Journal September 2014


    Anita Brown January 24, 2016 at 1:53 am

    HELP I purchased a home builded in 1790 and need help restoring it. I want to make sure I have the right contractor to preserve the house. Please help me in my search to complete the renovation.

    Lindsey Gardner February 28, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I love homes with porches. I grew up in West Ghent in a 1910 home with a large porch on the front and down one side. My parents rented rooms during the WWII to service families. The Porch was a social place for friends, military families, and passing neighbors. Air Conditioning did away with porches after the war.

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