The following narrative was included in Wolftrap's application for recognition as a Virginia Landmark (granted in March, 2005) and for inclusion on the National Registry of Historic Places (pending). Those interested in the architectural features of the seven historical structures at Wolftrap and how the development of the farm complex illustrates the history of rural Central Virginia may enjoy perusing the information.
Synopsis: I. Primary Dwelling - Exterior - Interior Plan - Interior Detailing II. Secondary Resources - Barn I - Tenant Quarters - Barn/Shed - Milk Shed - Tenant House I - Dairy Barn - Tenant House II - Hay Barn - Cemetery III. Statement of Significance IV. Ownership of Black Meadow V. Black Meadow and its unique place in the architecture of Orange County VI. Black Meadow during the 20th Century VII. Evolution of Black Meadow's agricultural landscapeVIII. Bibliography
Set on 584.10 acres, Black Meadow Farm, currently known as Wolf Trap Farm (17379 Wolf Trap Drive), includes a complex of houses and agricultural buildings, the most significant of which is the primary dwelling built by John Wickliffe Scott in 1856. Originally constructed employing a unique high-style Greek Revival form, the dwelling was renovated in 1916 with the addition of an ell and a realignment of interior spaces. Set on a stone pier foundation with concrete block infill, the wood-frame, weatherboard-clad structure stretches three bays in width and stands one-and-a-half stories in height. Capped by a front-gable standing-seam metal roof, the dwelling presents a rectangular footprint with small, recessed one-story wings. Facing northwest, the symmetrically fenestrated façade features a central inset portico flanked by inset gables with cornice returns. The inset gables, set beneath the main gable, gives the impression of a larger temple form. Paired Tuscan posts, three-light sidelights, and a seven-light transom adorn the entry, which is flanked by 6/6 wood windows with fluted surrounds with cornerblocks. A tripartite window with a central 6/6 window and 1/1 side windows pierces the central gable peak. Other detailing includes Tuscan pilaster cornerboards, central-interior corbelled brick chimneys with inset decorative panels, and a molded cornice with wide fascia. A two-story wood-frame ell, added in 1916, extends southeast from the main block. Clad in weatherboard, the ell features a gable roof, double porches, and a central-interior brick chimney. The ell is the structure’s only major exterior alteration and it is associated with changes that occurred during the building’s period of significance.
Located just to the east of the Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District, the farm features a rural, rolling landscape with open fields and commanding views of the northern Southwest Mountains. The main house is surrounded by several mature trees and shrubs and is fronted with large, mature boxwoods. A gravel lane, called Wolf Trap Drive, leads from Cox Mill Road, accessing the main house as well as each of the outbuildings and tenant houses. The property includes seven historic buildings; the main house (1856), a milking shed (circa 1916), tenant quarters (circa 1856), a dairy barn (circa 1943), a bent barn (circa 1856), a multiuse shed/barn (circa 1856), and a tenant house (circa 1943). Two non-historic structures also dot the landscape, including a hay barn (circa 1980), and a tenant house (1963). An historic Scott family cemetery is located on the property, the location of which is currently unknown.
Featuring a symmetrical primary façade with Greek Revival detailing, Black Meadow is representative of architectural ideals that became popular during the mid 19th century. The primary façade (northwest elevation) is distinguished by two smaller gables inset into a larger front gable that spans the three-bay-wide façade. Overall decorative features of the house include weatherboard siding, Tuscan pilaster cornerboards, square-edged paneled surrounds with cornerblocks, and a molded wood cornice with returns. The wood cornice begins, from the top, with a cyma recta leading to fillet, a cavetto and ends with two fillets. Rising above the standing-seam metal roof of the main block are two decorative central-interior chimneys detailed with inset arched brick panels. The central focus of the façade is an inset porch with flat molded cornice that shelters the primary entrance. The portico is supported with paired Tuscan wood posts and ornamental scroll-sawn, rectangular wood balusters. Illuminating the entrance is a seven-light transom and three-light sidelights over a recessed dado panel. The double-leaf doors consist of one-over-three-light recessed, horizontal panels and the fluted surround features solid corner blocks. The wall flanking the entry is clad with flat paneling with square-edged rails and stiles. The side walls of the inset porch are clad with flush wood siding. Other porch features include a wood tongue-and-groove floor and an iron balustrade on the stair leading to the entry. The cornice of the inset porch consists of a half-round concave molding, a fillet, and a half-round convex molding.
Flanking the porch on the first story are two 6/6 double-hung, wood-sash windows, set beneath small inset gables. The window surrounds for each of the windows on the original section are fluted with solid corner blocks. Operable, louvered, wood shutters adorn the windows. The attic story contains a triple window with double-hung, wood-sash windows. The triple windows contain two 1/1 windows and a 6/1 window on the northeast side (although the six-light sash has been formed with faux muntins). This triple window does not have a wood surround and was probably altered from a circa 1970 single window in a 1980s renovation.
The northeast elevation consists of the 1856 main block with a small wing and the 1916 gabled ell addition. The main block is pierced with two 6/6 wood-sash windows, one of which is located on the projecting wing. The gable wing, which marks the end of the original structure, features detailing similar to the façade, including a molded cornice with returns, Tuscan cornerboards and square-edged wood surrounds with cornerblocks and operable louvered shutters. Two similar 6/6 windows are located on the southeast elevation of the wing. The two-story rear ell extends two bays to the southeast and features a side-gable roof, overhanging eaves, and a molded wood cornice. The first story of the ell features a 2/2 wood-sash window and a three-sided bay window with 2/2 wood-sash windows. The projecting bay window is detailed with overhanging boxed eaves, molded panels, and a standing-seam metal roof. Piercing the second story of the ell are two 6/6 wood-sash windows. The window casings on the rear ell are simple, square-edged wood surrounds.
The rear elevation of the main block is dominated by the addition of the 1916 weatherboard-clad ell. The projecting wings, which are pierced with two 6/6 wood-sash windows on the northeast wing a one single-leaf wood, paneled door and a similar 6/6 window on the southwest wing, are the only visible portions of the main block. The rear elevation of the ell features paired 2/2 wood-sash windows on the first story and a single 6/6 wood-sash window o the second story, both placed slightly off-center. The ell features a molded wood cornice with returns, a shallow gable, a solid parged foundation, and flush wood cornerboards. A shed two-story porch projects to the southwest. Mirroring the northeast elevation, the main block features a projecting wing on the southwest elevation. The main block is pierced with two 6/6 wood-sash windows, one of which is located on the projecting wing. The ell is dominated by a two-story full-width shed porch on this side. The porch is supported with square balusters and square wood posts which are embellished with a chamfered relief. An exterior, dog-leg stair, sheltered by the porch, accesses the second story, which originally was the only access to the space. A small closet is located under the stair. The first story of the rear ell consists of two 2/2 wood-sash window and a single-leaf, metal replacement door. One 6/6 wood-sash window and two single-leaf wood doors, one of which is a Dutch door, is found on the second story of the rear ell. The doors are the same type used in the 1856 section of the dwelling, suggesting that they may have originally been exterior doors that were reused in the renovation.
The interior of the primary dwelling reflects detailing from the original Greek Revival construction, as well as a room arrangement based on a 1916 renovation and ell addition. During the 1916 renovation, the main floor was transformed from a seven-room, vestibule center plan into a five room, central-passage plan with a two-room rear ell. The high-style interior woodwork, the location of the extant original corner chimneys, and the intact front parlors provides substantial support for the original interior plan. Furthermore, physical evidence found in the structure, including nail types, nailing patterns and molding profiles, was used to indicate the location, as well as age, of existing and removed partitions. Surprisingly, the unique original detailing melds well with the 1916 move to a more standardized center-hall arrangement.
In 1856, a rectangular entry vestibule (front hall) served as the primary entrance space for the dwelling. Four doors, arranged symmetrically with a door to either side and two doors on the southeast wall, opened off the vestibule. The doors leading to the southwest and to the northeast both lead to identically sized front rooms (the north and west rooms) that each featured a fireplace on the southeastern wall and comparable fenestration patterns. However, the north room demonstrated more elaborate moldings, which remain intact, suggesting that the room was the more public of the spaces. The rear rooms (south and east), originally accessed from the two doors leading to the southeast from the vestibule, were also identical; composed of a large, almost square space with corner fireplaces, complete with decorative mantels, in the western and northern corners, respectively. Interestingly, these rear rooms were almost the exact same dimensions as the two front rooms (13-1/2’ x 15’). Partitions in the rear rooms contained doors that lead to smaller (roughly 10’ x 15’) chambers. These chambers, now removed, also contained corner fireplaces that backed up, sharing flues, with the rear room fireplaces. Evidence for the original wall partitions is apparent in the floorboards of the existing rear rooms, which are now larger. Although obscured by nail holes from multiple generations of carpet tacks and from a circa 1970-replacement partition in the east room, the remains of square, machine-cut nails can be seen. An interruption of the nailing pattern in the east room (which is roughly twenty-four inches on center) suggests that the doors were not centered in the partitions, but were instead located closer to the chimneystacks. No evidence for an original stair to the 1856 loft space has been found. Short studs in the attic are found near the perimeter of the building between several joists and the common rafters. However, they appear to be acting more as struts then to form a kneewall and show no signs of ever having been finished. The framing also reveals that the existing kneewall is made from modern dimensional lumber, reinforcing that the space was used as an unfinished attic until the 1980s. The second floor of the ell was finished, accessed by only an exterior stair.
In 1916, a rear ell was added to Black Meadow and the existing interior arrangement was conventionalized to reflect a central-passage floor plan. The circa 1916-ell addition contains two rooms on the first floor, including a dining room with bay window and rear kitchen. The second floor of the ell features a large bedroom space, probably originally two separate living spaces, as evidenced by exterior doors. The 1916 plan, which remains largely unchanged today, is comprised of an “L” shaped passage with the original entry vestibule partially opened to reveal a slightly off-center central corridor that extends the length of the house, including the ell. The “modern” plan includes two front rooms, spatially unchanged from the original plan, and two larger rooms to the rear. The central core was reworked to incorporate a center hall, reducing the size of the rear rooms. This was compensated for by removing the smaller chamber partition walls to return the rooms to their approximate original size. In 1916, the east room was larger as the center hall was not carved from its space. During a 2003 renovation, a small bathroom and stair were added to the central portion of the east room, again returning the rooms to a similar size.
In order to achieve the 1916 plan three partitions were removed. Both walls found dividing the east and west rooms were removed and, to form the central passage, the southern doorway that lead from the vestibule to the west room was removed and a partition was installed. Significantly, even with the changes made to the plan, most of the original 1856 Greek Revival-style interior woodwork was retained. Only several sections of baseboards, which were removed when baseboard level radiant registers were installed, have been removed. Additionally, the original window surrounds and decorative mantels remain in place. Two original doors and two original window sashes, eliminated by the addition, were reinstalled in the upstairs of the ell.
Several minor changes were made to the plan in the intervening eighty-nine years. One of the changes, a bathroom found off the central passage, was added sometime between 1916 and 1970. Circa 1970, the small chambers partition was replaced in the east room, a closet was built across the southwest wall, and a metal circular stair was installed to access the newly finished loft space in the attic of the 1856 section. The partition, closet, and intrusive spiral stair were all removed in a 2004 renovation. In 2004, a new stair was constructed to connect both the upper levels of the main block and the addition. The stair is inset into the northeastern wall of the central passage and the stringers project into the east room’s central core. A bathroom and a closet were also added in 2004 and sit partially under the stair stringers. As stated, this modern renovation returned the east and south rooms to similar sizes.
Throughout the house on the first floor are five-inch, tongue-and-groove, oak floorboards, and plaster walls, although some walls have been replaced with sheetrock. The wooden door casings in the entry vestibule consist of a double molding profile with one of the moldings set at an angle to the wall. Each of the profiles consists of a half-round concave molding flanked by two fillets. These casings are found on the in the entry vestibule for the doorways leading to the north, east, and west rooms. The baseboard on the northwest wall in the entry vestibule is eight and a half inches high and consists of an astragal, an outward V-shape molding, followed with a cavetto molding. Flat, uncarved, corner blocks are also found in the upper corners. The single-leaf wood, flat-paneled doors are comprised of four rails and six stiles, including hanging and locking stiles as well as four internal stiles. The rails and stiles are laid out to form a distinctive seven-panel door, with three, narrow vertical panels found above and below a central horizontal panel. These doors are found throughout the 1856 section of the house and in the two exterior doorways found on the second story of the ell.The north room, originally a parlor, features the most elaborate Greek Revival-style detailing in the house, including a decorative mantel. This almost square room is illuminated with two 6/6 windows and is accessed by a single-leaf door leading to the entry vestibule. The mantel, located centrally on the rear wall, features a shelf with rounded edges, a center panel with an outward V-shaped molding, and a fireplace opening flanked with colonettes (designed to resemble stylized vases) set on plinths. The baseboards are similar to the baseboards found on the northwestern wall of the entry vestibule. They are eight and a half inches high and consist of an astragal, an outward V-shape molding, followed with a cavetto molding. The door casings, as described in the vestibule, replicate themselves in the north room. They consist of consist of a double molding profile in which one molding is set at an angle to the wall. Each of the two molding profiles consists of a half-round concave molding flanked by two fillets. The two window casings are similarly detailed, including the uncarved corner blocks. Decorative spandrels, set below the windows, consist of three panels separated by a projecting bead molding.
The room to the rear of the north parlor (the east room) contains three windows, a door to the entry vestibule, and a new bathroom (added circa 2004). Two decorative angled fireplaces, which form a single projection, feature stone hearths. The fireplaces were originally separated by a partition wall, forming corner fireplaces. The mantelshelves on both fireplaces have rounded corners and the mantels features an inset panel and flat, unadorned pilasters on plinths. The baseboard, which demonstrated a profile more consistent with the colonial revival idiom, consists of a splayed molding. The window casings are similar to the parlor (north room) featuring a double molding profile, however, the canted profile has a half-round concave molding, the second molding is a fascia molding terminating with an astragal and the corner blocks have been omitted.
The west room, which is similar in configuration to the north room, features a door to the entry vestibule, a fireplace centrally located on the rear wall, and two windows. Between the fireplace and the west wall is an opening providing access to the south room. The door and window casings are similar to the window casings in the east room. although the corner blocks and window spandrels have been omitted. They consist of consist of a double molding profile in which one molding is set at an angle to the wall. Each of the two molding profiles consists of a half-round concave molding flanked by two fillets. The hearth is similar to the north parlor and the fireplace mantel features flat pilasters and no paneling. A shallow closet with louvered doors, added in the 1970s or 1980s, is located adjacent to the fireplace. The baseboards are eight-inches high and consist of an astragal, an outward V-shape molding, followed with a cavetto molding.
The south room contains a corner fireplace, two 6/6 wood windows, a single-leaf door to the rear porch, and a door to the central hall. It is probable that the door opening to the rear porch originally functioned as a window similar to the east room. The fireplace mantel, which feature flat pilasters, and the window casings, which consist of a double molding profile with a half-round concave molding flanked by two fillets, are similar to the west room. Interestingly, the northeastern door leading to the hall features a casing identical to the casings found in the vestibule, including the uncarved corner blocks. This suggests that it was originally installed in the vestibule, but was moved when the interior spaces were renovated in 1916. Adjacent to the fireplace is a circa 1916 closet addition, with open shelves and shallow cupboard with double-leaf doors embellished with one raised panel on each leaf. The closet opening is also cased with a surround that is similar to the 1856 door and window surrounds, suggesting that it too was originally found in a different location.
The bathroom located in the central hall is not original and was added between 1916 and circa 1970. The single-leaf door to the bathroom is hollow core and features a non-historic wood casing. The bathroom addition masks one of the original corner fireplaces in the south room.
Access to the 1916, two-room ell is through a single-leaf door on the rear wall of the central hall. The first room, after stepping down a small staircase, is the dining room. This room contains a fireplace and is illuminated with one window and one projecting, three-sided, bay window. Flanking the fireplace in the dining room are open shelves above shallow closets with double-leaf doors. The second room in the ell is a kitchen that is found to the rear of the ell. The kitchen, which renovated with new flooring and cabinets in 2004, contains an exterior, metal door and is illuminated with a single 2/2 wood window on both the northeast and southwest walls, and a pair of 2/2 wood windows, located on the rear wall. The baseboard in each room is a flush fascia board with an ogee base molding and the window and door casings are square edged.
The upper floor of the main block, which appears not to have been finished until circa 1970, contains one bedroom with a bathroom (renovated in 2004), and access panels/closets in the circa knee walls. The sidewalls are clad with vertical boards. As shown in a photograph from a 1972 VDHR survey, this room had a single window in the gable peak. The window appears to have been expanded into a tripartite configuration during a 1980s renovation. The tripartite window consists of three, one-over-one, double-hung sashes, although the northeastern sash has faux muntins in the top sash that gives the impression of six-light sash. The remainder of the second story is the second story bedroom located in the ell. Probably originally two rooms, the space is illuminated with three windows and contains two, reused original 1856 paneled doors that lead to the porch. One of the doors has been altered into a Dutch door. The wood door and window casings are square edged, typical of early 20th-century ornamentation. A small bathroom was added to the west corner in 2004. Wood floors, sheetrock walls, and simple surrounds further define the interior of the ell. The modern stair, added in 2004, connects the ell to the upper story of the main block.
The large, bent-framed, side-gable barn, located to the southwest of the dairy barn, dates to circa 1856. However, given the bent framing, it could date to an earlier period. The structure, which sits on a replacement cinder-block foundation, is capped by a front-gable roof with standing-seam metal sheathing and is clad with vertical-board siding. The one-story building features a large, central sliding door on both gable sides, overhanging eaves, and exposed roof rafters. A lean-to addition on the south elevation features open bays. A one-story, shed-roof addition on the north elevation is clad with weatherboard siding and has a large, open drive bay to the northeast. The interior, which features the exposed timber bent frame, is divided into three spaces with a drive bay in the center. A hayloft is found southwest of the drive while the northwest space was converted into stables sometime in the early- to mid-20th century (based on the use of wire cut nails and unplaned circular sawn lumber). Three additional stalls, which also date the early- to mid-20th century, are found under the shed-roof addition.
Tenant Quarters (ca. 1856)
Quarter dating to circa 1856 is sited directly to the rear of the main dwelling. Resting on a replacement concrete-block foundation, this one-story, wood-frame building is clad with board-and-batten siding and has a side-gable roof. The standing-seam metal roof features overhanging eaves, and a molded wood cornice with prominent returns on both gable ends. A central-interior flue chimney is made from brick and displays corbelling. The northwest elevation, facing toward the house, is pierced with two single-leaf entries. The side elevations feature 6/6 wood-sash windows. The rear elevation contains one door and one 6/6 wood-sash window. An open, three-bay, shed-roof addition supported by earth-set, round posts is located on the rear elevation. As a whole, the exterior exhibits elements consistent with the Carpenter Gothic style. However, compared with the exterior, the interior is sparse. The floor plan of the quarter contains two rooms, each of which is accessed from one of the exterior doors. In addition, a single leaf door located in the central partition serves to connect the two spaces. The southwestern room has been finished with circa 1970-pressboard paneling. However, northeastern room has never been finished beyond the application of whitewash/paint to the exposed framing.
Barn/Shed (ca. 1856) A second, circa 1856, one-story, side-gable structure is located east of the main dwelling at the end of Wolf Trap Drive, near the second tenant house. The small building may have originally been a grain storage or multipurpose barn but is currently used as a shed. Resting on a replacement concrete-block foundation, this transitional frame building is capped with a side-gable, asphalt-shingle roof and is clad with weatherboard siding. It features a sliding double-leaf door, cornerboards, fixed one-light wood windows, and a boxed cornice. A full-length, balloon-framed addition was also made to the southwestern end of the building, creating the existing asymmetrical gable roof. The interior of the structure is composed of one, large open space with a poured concrete slab floor and exposed rafters.
Milk Shed (ca. 1916) Standing directly to the rear of the house is a circa 1916, one-story milk shed constructed with concrete poured in multiple lifts. It has a side-gable, asphalt-shingle roof, overhanging eaves, a single-leaf vertical-board door, and weatherboard-clad gables. A single window bay, which was originally a door opening that has been in filled with concrete block, is found on the northwest wall. The interior features a poured concrete milk cooler and a circular well opening in the poured concrete floor slab.
Tenant House I (ca. 1943) The first tenant house, built circa 1943 with an addition dating to circa 1960, is sited to the south of the main house and dairy barn. The small, low side-gable structure is one-story tall and is clad with weatherboards. The 1930s section is three bays wide with a central entry flanked by 1/1 vinyl-sash windows. Resting on poured concrete piers with concrete block infill, this dwelling is clad with weatherboard siding and features overhanging eaves, exposed roof rafters, and cornerboards. A central-interior, brick flue rises at the intersection of the circa 1943 and the 1960s sections. The addition is pierced with 6/6 wood-sash windows, features a wood cornice and has an interior-end, concrete block flue. The open floor plan is composed of a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and two bedrooms. Both bedrooms are contained in the 1960s section.
Dairy Barn (ca. 1943) According to the tax records of Orange County, a dairy barn was constructed at Black Meadow in 1943. The concrete block barn stands two-and-a-half stories in height and is capped by a large bell roof with asphalt shingles. The upper stories are completely contained within the wood-framed roof, which features weatherboard cladding on the gable ends. The first story of the east elevation is pierced with 3/3 metal hopper windows and a double-leaf wood sliding door. The second story features one single-leaf door, and the upper story is pierced with two four-light metal, casement windows, and a double-leaf, sliding wood hay loft door. Other features include an overhanging peak hood joist, overhanging eaves, exposed roof rafters and purlins, and concrete sills on the first story. Attached on the southwest corner is one concrete-stave silo with a dome roof. On the east elevation is a milk house addition made of concrete blocks with one exterior-side, concrete-block chimney (with a brick shaft), and one interior-end brick chimney. The milk house is connected to the dairy barn by a gabled hyphen sheathed with asphalt-shingles. Horse stalls, which are found flanking a center aisle, are found the entire length of the structure on the first floor. A massive, open, one-and-a-half story hayloft with exposed roof framing is found over the first story. This space is accessed by interior ladders affixed to the exterior walls. An exterior wooden stair was constructed on the southwestern side in 2004.
Tenant House II (1963) The second tenant house is located at the end of Wolf Trap Drive, southeast of the main house. Dating to 1963, this small, one-story, wood-frame dwelling features a side-gable, asphalt-shingle roof and rests on a concrete-block foundation. A smaller, gable-roofed section abuts the main core to the northeast. The walls are clad with unpainted weatherboards. The four-bay façade has an off-center, one leaf, four-panel, two-light door, a tripartite window unit with a central fixed sash flanked by 1/1, double-hung, metal sashes and two 1/1, double-hung, metal sashes.
Hay Barn (1980) Sited south of the dairy barn, the large, gable-roofed, 1980s pole-framed hay barn is clad with corrugated-sheet metal. The roof is also clad with corrugated-sheet metal and the structure is open on the southeastern side.
Cemetery Scott family cemetery is known to have exited on the property. However, the location is currently unknown. The markers were removed sometime in the 1980s and, as of the writing of this nomination, are stored in the hay barn.
Significance Statement: Briefly note any significant events, personages, and/or families associated with the property. (Detailed family genealogies are not necessary.) Please list all sources of information. It is not necessary to attach lengthy articles or genealogies to this form. Normally, only information contained on this form is forwarded to the State Review Board.
Statement of Significance Located in the rolling piedmont landscape of southern Orange County, just north of Gordonsville, the circa 1856 dwelling at Black Meadow Farm is representative of the high-style Greek Revival design idiom that was used extensively throughout the United States from the 1830s through the 1850s. Black Meadow is significant for being reflective of the non-traditional, professionally-influenced domestic designs that were popular in the United States in the mid-19th century, but rarely seen in the context of rural Orange County. Additionally, Black Meadow is important for a circa 1916 renovation that was initiated in response to major cultural changes in Virginia, including the abolition of slavery and the realignment of the post Civil War economy. With a period of significance from 1856 to 1916, Black Meadow reflects two distinct phases of construction; including the1856 construction date, with associated Greek Revival detailing, and a 1916 renovation that incorporated the addition of a rear ell and the rearrangement of the interior floor plan. Black Meadow is eligible under Criterion C (architecture) for its representation of the late Greek Revival style, the infiltration of pattern books and professional architectural designs into the traditional culture of rural Orange County, and the revised spatial arrangements that represent a pivotal shift in societal attitudes.
Ownership of Black Meadow Black Meadow was originally part of a 10,000-acre land patent granted to Colonel Henry Willis in 1728. That same year, Thomas Beale purchased 3,333 acres from Willis, including land on which Black Meadow was later constructed. In 1792, after several ownership exchanges, the land was acquired by James Madison, Junior, President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. Madison owned the property until 1830 and was responsible for naming it Black Meadow.
Coleby Cowherd, a prominent Orange County farmer, purchased the property from Madison in 1830. After Cowherd’s death in 1847, Black Meadow, along with five other properties and thirty-nine slaves, was willed to his daughter, Ann Cowherd Scott and her husband John Scott. Scott was a fourth generation descendent of John Scott, one of the original 18th-century settlers of Orange County, and one of the leading men of Orange County during this period.[i] In 1847, when John and Ann Scott were bequeathed the property, they were residing at Edgefield, a farm located near Black Meadow that includes a large, prominent antebellum dwelling. Because of their residential association with Edgefield, it is unlikely that they built extensively on the Black Meadow tract.[ii] However, it is possible that a tenant house and barns existed on the property prior to the construction of the current dwelling.[iii]
In April of 1856, three months following his marriage to Sally Hackley, John Wickliffe Scott acquired the 850-acre Black Meadow tract from his parents, John and Ann Scott.[iv] It appears that the twenty-eight-year-old John Wickliffe Scott and his twenty-five-year-old bride constructed the house soon after they were married.[v] Physical evidence, including circular-sawn lumber, fully-developed machine cut nails and transitional braced framed construction provides further support for an 1856 construction date.
After residing at Black Meadow for fifteen years, between 1856 and 1871, John Wickliffe and Sallie Scott transferred 443.68 acres to a trustee, Mary Hackley (presumably an older cousin or sister of Mary Hackely Scott) while still residing in the house.[vi] Between 1872 and 1883, under the direction of John W. and Ann Scott, Mary Hackley made eight transferences of land from the Black Meadow tract to African-Americans. Each parcel equaled anywhere from two to ten acres in size and the transfers suggest that the Scotts were assigning acreage to former slaves who once lived on Black Meadow. In 1900, Sallie Scott deeded an additional 359 acres of the property to John Sindlinger, James Sindlinger and Harem S. Sindlinger. The Sindlingers subdivided the property into five separate lots of varying sizes. The portion with the main house was sited on Lot 1 of the J.T. Sindlinger subdivision. Although the property had changed hands, Sallie Scott maintained life rights to the dwelling and cemetery and continued to reside in the main house until her death in 1917.[vii] Lots 1 and 4 totaling 195.08 acres were deeded to D.S. Riner in 1923.[viii] In 1938, the 195-acre property was sold to Jesse and Olive Wright. The property was auctioned in 1952 by Trustees, A.P. Beirne and Herman Lerner, to George J. Murch and his wife, Dorothy for $24,000. It appears the Murch’s renamed the property “Mountain View.” In 1970, the Murch’s conveyed the property to Hanno Von Wulffen, a German Baron. The following year, Hanno Von Wulffen married Princess Christine of Sayn Wittgenstein-Berleburg, named Ulrike of Germany. The Von Wulffen’s transformed the farm into a racehorse breeding facility, and renamed the property Wolf Trap Farm, both as homage to their namesake and for the nearby Wolf Trap Creek.
Constructed circa 1856, the primary dwelling at Black Meadow reflects one of the last stages in the development of the Greek Revival style. The style, which was popular from around 1825 until 1860, was fashionable throughout the United States, although each geographical region developed its own vernacular interpretation.[ix] The reasons behind the widespread popularity of the Greek Revival style are often tied to three separate sources; an increase in archaeological knowledge of Ancient Greek design elements, the pervasive support for the Greek nationals during their war for independence from the Ottoman Empire (1821-1832), and that the idiom, as it was developed in the United States, was seen as an expressly American form of architecture. In addition, the style is significant for the role that pattern books, which were written and published in the United States, played in its distribution and development.
Elements that align Black Meadow with the high-style Greek Revival style include the unusual triple-gabled façade, detailed chimney brickwork, decorative paneled doors, multi-light transom, Tuscan pilaster cornerboards, and embellished window surrounds. The dwelling also appears to mimic a larger Greek Revival sub-type that features a main central block flanked by smaller wings; using the two smaller gables, which have been separated by the inset portico, to reference the wings. The inset portico also features a heavily-molded cornice, giving the appearance of a separate porch roofline. The walls flanking the doorway of the inset portico are clad with uncommon flat, vertical panels, while the side walls use flush, horizontal wood siding. As a result, the three gables and the inset porch combine to make the façade of Black Meadow quite unusual in the context of Orange County antebellum architecture. Other important Greek Revival details on the exterior of Black Meadow include the heavily-molded cornice with returns, flat scroll-sawn balusters on the porch, arch-paneled chimneys, and reeded window surrounds, which are common elements of the Greek Revival style in general, but appear to be rare embellishments for antebellum dwellings in Orange County.
The sophisticated design of Black Meadow also confirms that pattern books, as well as the slow professionalization of architecture, were having at least a minor impact on the architecture of rural Piedmont Virginia. Whether Black Meadow was designed by an architect or a well-educated local builder remains unknown. However, the structure clearly shows the influence of fashionable architectural theories that were most widely disseminated through pattern books. These pattern books, which began to be published in the United States with Benjamin Asher’s The Country Builder’s Assistant in 1797, are largely responsible for the fundamental change in the architecture of the United States that occurred roughly between 1800 and 1900. While the designs found in the books were heavily influenced by their British counterparts, these volumes effectively helped to nationalize artistic trends throughout the 19th century.[x] The early pattern books primarily demonstrated ornamental details that were, in the Southern regions of the United States, typically applied over existing building forms. The effect was the preservation of the two-story, single- or double-pile plans that had reached ascendancy in the early Georgian and Federal periods while introducing fashionable new decorative elements that simply updated the existing spatial systems. After 1830, pattern books, such as those published by A.J. Downing, Calvert Vaux and Samuel Sloan, were less technical in nature and reflective of the established picturesque and romantic movements in England. The later books also focused more on complete designs, including elevations and floor plans, as well as suggestions on the proper ways to use domestic spaces. The inclusion of floor plans, along with revised thoughts on the use of spaces, affected the southern architectural environment by introducing new and innovative ways for spatially arranging domestic structures.[xi] Finally, the publication of pattern books had reached a zenith in the 1850s (ninety-three of the total 188 architectural books that were published between 1797 and 1860 were written between 1850 and 1860), reveals the pervasive affect these books were having on the culture of the United States at the time of Black Meadow’s construction.[xii]
The primary dwelling at Black Meadow shows the influence of the professional architectural designs through the use of a locally idiosyncratic plan, structural massing and interior decorative elements. Although the building has undergone several renovations since its construction in 1856, the exterior retains a high level of integrity of design and form. Furthermore, much of the 1856 decorative woodwork remains intact in the structure, maintaining the feeling associated with the original interior if not the exact plan. The existing woodwork, which highlights classical Greek ornamentation interpreted through the use of flat planes and angular surfaces, is also significant as a rare example of late Greek Revival interior decorative elements in Orange County. A reconstruction of the 1856 plan provides additional evidence of the structure’s origins in the popular architectural designs of the day. Although remodeled in 1916, existing structural and decorative elements, as well as physical evidence of prior partitions, allow an image of the plan as initially constructed to be developed. The most telling sign of the influence of pattern books is the inclusion of an entrance vestibule instead of employing a central passage, as was overwhelmingly favored throughout Orange County at this time. A.J. Downing directly promoted vestibules when he states in a passage from his 1850 The Architecture of Country Houses that, “The principal entrance or front door should never open directly into an apartment of any kind, but always into a porch, lobby or entry of some kind. Such a passage not only protects the apartment against sudden draughts of air, but it also protects the privacy and dignity of the inmates.”[xiii]
A description of the remaining 1856 plan reveals further evidence of a non-traditional plan. Leading off the distinctive vestibule were four doors; two on the southeastern wall, one on the southwestern wall and one on the northeastern wall. The northeastern door leads to what was, due to its high level of architectural detailing, the formal public parlor (North room). The southwestern door initially leads to a room (West room) identical in proportion to the parlor, although it does not display the same level of ornamentation. The size and location of the room may indicate that it originally functioned as a dining room.[xiv] The two doors on the southeastern wall each led to identical interior spaces, each of which had a door leading to smaller exterior rooms. These spaces appear to have been used as chambers, with the smaller spaces used as additional chambers, dressing closets or storage space. The fact that the Scotts, their sixteen-year-old daughter Sally, and a relative named Alexander Hackley, also sixteen, were all residing the house in 1860, suggests that one of the smaller rooms also functioned as a chamber while the other was a storage or dressing room. It is interesting to note that as originally constructed, all of the rooms, except for the vestibule, were heated by individual, coal-burning, fireplaces.
The 1856 plan of Black Meadow, as well as its exterior design, is unique in Orange County. Its uniqueness is especially important because it diverts from both the vernacular traditions of the county as well as all of the high-style examples that had been constructed before 1856. One of the best records to illustrate this point is the National Register Nomination for the Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District.
Black Meadow is located on land adjacent to the 31,200-acre Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District, which encompasses a significant portion of southeastern Orange County. The architectural analysis in the Rural Historic District nomination can be applied to place Black Meadow in a relative architectural context. Jeff O’Dell, who co-wrote the nomination, states that “building design was remarkably standardized” in pre-Civil War houses in the area.[xv] He explains that most houses from this period have exterior chimneys and side-gable roofs, as well as standard, center hall, floor plans.[xvi] While most of these examples are typical of the single pile “I-House,”[xvii] there are five examples of double-pile, central-passage plan houses that date prior to 1860 in the district. In addition, there are six major houses in the district that incorporate consistent Greek Revival-style detailing, all built between 1850 and 1860. These houses include Beaumont (DHR #068-0003), Burlington (068-0007), Clifton (068-0027), Edgewood (068-0013), Glendale (068-0015), and Monteith (068-0029). In addition, the houses at Tetley, Hazelhurst and Thistlewood were probably built with Greek trim, although much was lost during twentieth-century remodelings. All but one of these houses can be described as two-stories in height, capped with a hipped roof and designed with some version of the central-passage plan, while “five [of the nine houses] are double-pile plans and four have—or had—single-bay front porches with upper decks reached via a second-story doorway.”[xviii] Significantly, Black Meadow did not originally feature a central hallway, but instead touted an entry vestibule.
Both the exterior and interior ornamentation of Greek Revival style houses in the Madison-Barbour District is described by O’Dell as “generally blocky in overall form, with large-scale decorative elements and plain, uncarved surfaces. Exterior cornices, for example, are bolder than those of their Federal predecessors, and mantels feature flat pilasters and plain shelves rather than carved colonettes and complex moldings.”[xix] Interestingly, Black Meadow does not follow this blanket statement. The analysis in the Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District nomination shows that Black Meadow exhibits a rare version of the Greek Revival style in Orange County. Each of the ‘typical’ elements, as depicted by O’Dell, does not describe the decorative detailing associated with Black Meadow, as evidenced by the dwelling’s carved surfaces (corner pilasters, scroll-sawn balustrade, and varying wall cladding), front-gable roof, interior chimneys, small-scale carved surface embellishments, colonettes on one fireplace mantel, and elaborate carved moldings.
Another useful tool for determining the importance of Black Meadow within the context of architecture in Orange County is the bookAntebellum Orange, written by Ann Miller. Antebellum Orange is an excellent resource providing an extensive database on the extant pre-Civil War buildings throughout Orange County, ranging in date from the mid-1700s to 1860. This book also provides a viable cross-section of vernacular and high-style resources found within the county. A total of 141 houses are presented with photographs in Antebellum Orange.
Of the 141 houses exhibited in Antebellum Orange, only nineteen are considered “high style,” with the remainder being vernacular interpretations. It must be noted that several of the vernacular dwellings do feature a few embellishments, but not enough to be declared high style. High-style Greek Revival dwellings in Orange County, constructed prior to 1860, include Burlington, Tetley, Willow Grove, and Black Meadow. Each of the high-style Greek Revival houses listed in Antebellum Orange, except for Black Meadow, is two or more stories in height, three to five bays wide, and features a grand two-story porch on the façade. Miller claims that Burlington (circa 1850-1857) is one of the finest examples of the Greek Revival style in the area. This prominent dwelling is two stories high and three bays wide with a central entry, embellished with a full-height porch across the façade supported with large Ionic columns. Other details include a second-story balcony and a heavily-molded cornice. Willow Grove (circa 1848) has a pedimented porch covering the central three, of five, bays on the façade and a full-height porch across the entire rear elevation. Each porch is supported by colossal Doric columns.
Due to the fact that Black Meadow was built with modest massing, which was quite unlike the immense structures of Burlington, Tetley, and Willow Grove, it serves to delineate the structure as derivative of the popular national architectural trends of the period. These theories were again based on earlier English precedents, which, as one architect stated, advocated that “the best style of villa seems to be an appearance of regular architecture, after the best and choicest models, judiciously softened down to the purposes of domestic life.”[xx] Andrew Jackson Downing was the leading proponent in the United States of this theory of modestly scaled, although architecturally correct, domestic buildings. Specifically the relatively diminutive massing of Black Meadow can also be seen as a response to Downing’s call for a more “democratic” form of architecture. By not constructing a grand house that towered over the dwellings of the surrounding lower classes, the Scotts were propagating the idea of the American middle class. The large middle class was often praised on the world stage during the early and mid-19th century as a perfected or ideal social arrangement. The smaller, although well-ornamented, houses proposed by Downing were reflective of a native pride in the large middle class. John Scott’s Black Meadow is evidence that these theories, which were extraordinarily popular in the Northeastern sections of the country, even had an impact on the architecturally conservative rural areas of Virginia.[xxi]
While Black Meadow is derivative of the architectural theories of the mid-19th century, the lack of service or workspaces within the main house serves to tie the structure to its rural Virginia cultural context. By the 1850s, almost all of the plans and designs advocated by pattern books included a space devoted to at least a kitchen if not a full service suite. Why did John Scott, who wholeheartedly adopted many of the other aspects of the plans promoted by the modish design books, fail to adopt the attached kitchens so favored by the pattern books? The answer is found in the rural Virginia tradition of locating kitchens, and other workspaces, in detached outbuildings. While many theories have been developed that base the tradition of detached kitchens in the Antebellum South on convenience and climatic considerations, an interpretation based on the need for social control in a slave society provides the best structure for viewing the lack of a kitchen space in the plan of Black Meadow. As stated by John Michael Vlach in Back of the Big House, “The detached kitchen was an important emblem of hardening social boundaries and the evolving society created by slaveholders that increasingly demanded clearer definitions of status, position and authority.”[xxii] Therefore, the lack of a kitchen in the initial plan is significant and shows evidence of John Scott actively altering the popular architectural theories of the day to suit his own expectations of an idealistic domestic space. Scott, however, was not the only central Virginian to build a dwelling that accounted for traditional segregated kitchen and service spaces with the fashionable plans of the day. In 1851, Richard Morris, a wealthy planter from neighboring Louisa County, commissioned the nationally recognized architect A.J. Davis to design the now ruinous “Hawkwood.” The plan of Hawkwood is also notable for its lack of a kitchen space or any service-oriented rooms.[xxiii] Interestingly, as John Wickliffe Scott and Richard Morris were of the same generation (in 1856 Scott was twenty-eight and Morris was thirty) and social class, it is conceivable that Scott had even visited nearby Hawkwood prior to building his own dwelling. Finally, as described below, the significance of the circa 1916-rear ell, which contains a kitchen, is augmented when viewed as a reaction to cultural changes abruptly brought about by the abolition of slavery.
The theories and designs that were so influential to the design of Black Meadow never became popular in rural Antebellum Virginia, revealing how unique the design was. As typical of culturally conservative rural areas, the influences of these non-traditional design resources arrived late to the rural Virginia landscape and they appear to have had only a minor impact on regional domestic architecture. In addition, since the popularity of these designs, based on the publication of pattern books, peaked between 1850 and 1860, any influence they would have had would have been decimated by the Civil War and the later Reconstruction period. During this period all economic, social and architectural activities in Virginia became severely depressed for several decades. Finally, as will be seen in the changes that were made to Black Meadow in the 20th century, the coming of the immensely popular Colonial Revival Movement would also serve to limit the popularity of these romantic housing patterns.
As so clearly stated by Rhys Isaacs, “the restructuring of space within houses is itself revealing of changing social attitudes” and through this lens the importance of the alterations to the plan of the main dwelling can be best understood.[xxiv] The circa 1916 renovations made to Black Meadow (after the death of the life right tenant Sally Scott) by J.T. Sindlinger, who purchased the property in 1900, clearly reveals that major cultural changes had occurred in Orange County since the end of the Civil War. However, the renovations also demonstrate that strongly held traditional concepts of ideal domestic spaces were also being reinforced and maintained in the county.
The two major changes that were made to the plan of Black Meadow in 1916 were the addition of a large rear ell and the reorganization of the interior spaces of the original 1856 section. Both of these changes were responses to separate cultural influences that were serving, paradoxically, to reinvent new social patterns was well as to buttress the traditional cultural forms of rural Virginia at the turn of the 19th-century as it was emerging from the shadow of Reconstruction.
After the 1916 renovation and expansion, Black Meadow was transformed into a double-pile structure with an offset central passage and a two-story rear ell with a two-story, full-width porch. The 1856 portion was renovated by removing the partitions that divided the rear room corner fireplaces, installing a partition through the southern room to create a passage, and removing the 1856 doorway into the southern room from the vestibule to connect the new passage to the front door. The rear ell, which is positioned approximately three feet below the 1856 portion of the house, contains a large dining area and a smaller kitchen space. The ell also features a large room located on the second floor (although, this floor includes two doors to the porch, so the room may originally have been divided into two spaces).
Just as the institution of slavery had encouraged a “regime of racial segregation that was expressed by greater physical separation,” the abolition of slavery encouraged the development of house plans that featured attached kitchens and workspaces. [xxv] Because the large, enslaved pools of laborers were no longer present, the cost of domestic labor increased drastically and a partial breakdown in the social systems that had evolved to sustain the socio-cultural conditions needed to maintain a slave society occurred. While the newly acquired service spaces were no longer physically separated from the main dwelling, they were still marked as secondary to the main living spaces by their limited or simplified architectural ornamentation. In addition, the ell often included living spaces on the second floor, which could be used for housing domestic servants. The rear ell found at Black Meadow fits this pattern. The simple, square-edged window and door surrounds as well as the square balusters on the exterior staircase serve as examples of the structure’s decorative simplicity. The second story of the addition was also physically separated from the rest of the house and was accessed exclusively by an exterior stair. Similar arrangements can be found throughout rural Virginia, including “Greenfield” in Rappahannock County. The isolation of the second floor rooms, which appears to have been used as a living space for servants, fits into a pattern that developed to maintain the segregation of the living spaces associated with the different classes. While this space may have been physically attached to the main living spaces of the employers, the lack of an internal staircase ensured that the separation of classes was maintained. Even with the recent addition of an interior staircase that now connects the second floor of the loft with the rest of the house has recently been built, the exterior staircase remains as evidence of its prior configuration. Finally, the location of the ell is also significant. The ell was constructed to overlook the working or service areas of the landscape surrounding the house. By regulating the views from the work and servant housing areas, the privacy of the more ornamental/ceremonial spaces found in front of the house was preserved, even though they were now physically closer to the service spaces.
The second part of the renovation that was undertaken circa 1916 was the reorganization of the interior spaces of the 1856 section. The reorganization is significant because it reveals a conscious rejection of the non-traditional 1856 plan in favor of a more traditional arrangement. The outcome of the new spatial pattern was, in effect, to force a double-pile, central passage plan into the structure. Three sources appear to have influenced this development; a tradition of central passage plans in Orange County, the overwhelming popularity of the Colonial Revival style, and the addition of the rear ell.
The long-standing tradition of central passage plans, as previously demonstrated, dominated the historic landscape of Orange County, as well as throughout much of rural Virginia. The plans flourished even in the face of competition from popular architectural pattern books and writings, providing evidence of their strong cultural significance. It was not until the turn of the 20th century when open plans, like the gable-wing and bungalow types, begin to make inroads in the region.[xxvi]
The second source was the immensely popular Colonial Revival style that served to reinforce the popularity of central passage plans. The Colonial Revival movement has its roots in the 1876 Centennial Exposition and an increased sense of nationalism in the face of large-scale immigration to the United States. The style glorified, although did not advocate directly copying, the architectural traditions and ornamentation from the Colonial and early Federal periods in the United States. In effect, the Colonial Revival movement rendered Black Meadow’s 1856 vestibule-centered and compartmentalized plan unfashionable, supplying another rational for the renovation. Specific decorative elements relating to this period include the baseboards found in the east room that demonstrate a classic Colonial Revival profile, featuring a cyma recta base molding mounted on a flat base.The third source of inspiration for the rearrangement of the interior spaces was the addition of the rear ell. The improvised central passage served to connect the rear ell with all of the rooms found in the older section and increased the functionality and integration of the spaces. However, it is unknown if the ell was added first, thereby making the central passage more expressly functional, or if the ell was constructed after the interior spaces were rearranged. If the ell was added after the revisions to the plan, then its sighting would be seen as reacting to the location of the central passage instead of the other way around.
Regardless of the source of the reoriented spatial arrangement, the outcome clearly shows the re-entrenchment of traditional building forms. These forms gained an increased validity in the face of the radical cultural changes instigated by the abolition of slavery, a dramatic realignment of the economy and increased cultural competition made possible by railroads and telegraphs. In this light, the circa 1916 changes to the plan emerges as an attempt to maintain cultural iconic images by altering a spatial organization system that was reflective of a non-traditional form.
After the 1916 renovation, the design of the house and its plan appears to have remained fairly static until the property was purchased in 1970 by Barron Hanno Von Wulffen. The only changes to the structure between 1916 and 1970 appear to have been the addition of two bathrooms; one off the central passage in the 1856 section and one in the northwestern room on the second story of the ell. Von Wulffens made several minor changes to the structure during their tenure, including finishing the half story in the attic over the 1856 section (a spiral staircase, which has since been removed, accessed the space), reinstalling a partition in the eastern room and installing a closet in the northern room. Other circa 1970-1980 changes includes the installation of built-in bookshelves in the ell dining room, renovating the existing bathrooms and installing a bathroom on the half story above the 1856 section. A circular metal stair was also added, accessing the attic of the original block for the first time.
The Von Wulffen’s sold the property in 2003 to Keith and Deborah Cuthrell, who renovated the house between 2003 and 2004. During the renovation, the Cuthrell’s removed the circa 1970-80 metal circular stair, the circa 1970 partition in the eastern room, and the circa 1970 closet in the northern room, which essentially removed the alterations made by the Von Wulffen’s to the 1916 plan. In addition, they added a stair leading to the second floor rooms at the end of the central passage, installed a bathroom in the eastern room (which is contained in the new stairwell) and renovated the three remaining bathrooms.
As Lanier and Herman write in Everyday Architecture of the Mid-Atlantic, “Farm Buildings write the history of the agricultural landscape.”[xxvii] From this perspective, along with information that is known about the landscape of Virginia’s piedmont in general, the history of the landscape of Black Meadow will be investigated.
Little remains at Black Meadow that relates to its 18th-century landscape. Starting with first settlers, the area in general was overwhelmingly given to the production of tobacco. However, by the late 18th and early 19th centuries wheat had become the region’s main crop (although tobacco still played a large role).[xxviii] No evidence has been found to suggest that Black Meadow did not follow a similar path. While no structures or sites have been identified with tobacco culture, three structures remain that appear to have been associated with wheat production. The primary wheat-related structure is a large, mid-19th-century English barn found northeast of the main house. The barn is constructed from heavy timber bents and is divided into three sections, with a central threshing floor/drive bay flanked by two hay storage areas. Because the barn is constructed using heavy timber bents, the actual date of construction could be prior to the 1856-construction date for the house, however no documentary evidence has been found to suggest an earlier date. The barn has been moved from its original location (which was in approximately the middle of the circa 1943 dairy barn) and one of the hay storage bays was adapted into stables sometime in the early- to mid-20th century. Additional stalls were also added to the southwestern end of the structure.
The second secondary structure at Black Meadow is a circa 1856 building that stands directly to the southeast of the main house and appears to be contemporary to the main dwelling. Although the function of the building has not been substantiated, its location, date, size and form suggest that it might have been a slave or servants quarter. Elaborate and stylized in its own right, the building is a wood-frame dwelling with a small, central-interior brick flue and a side-gable roof. The façade facing the main house is pierced with two single-leaf doors suggesting that the structure was originally built as a double quarter for two separate families. The two separate interior rooms, one of which features the original exposed framing surface treatment, reinforces the assumption that the structure was a double quarter, each of which was served by a stove instead of a fireplace. Interestingly, the exterior demonstrates a more finished appearance than the more roughly treated interior. The exterior walls were clad with board-and-batten siding that appears to have been used to help the structure better blend in with the house complex. The use of board-and-batten siding is reminiscent of the Carpenter Gothic style introduced in America during the mid-nineteenth century by architects such as Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing, again recalling the use of the cottage residence ideals during the dwelling’s construction. Another embellishment to this resource is the sizeable cornices and cornice returns, particularly uncommon on secondary quarters in Virginia. The contrast in finishes clearly shows that the structure’s exterior appearance was the primary concern, while the much less visible interior spaces were largely ignored.
The third building is a small barn/shed the found southeast of the main dwelling below the board-and-batten tenant quarter/outbuilding. The earliest portion of the building is constructed with a transitional braced frame system similar to the primary dwelling. The structure was expanded significantly sometime in the mid-20th century and the balloon-frame addition appears to be contemporary to the 1943 dairy barn. The exact use of the shed/barn is unknown, although physical evidence reveals that it once had a central drive bay that divided two flanking storage areas. While this is similar to the spatial arrangement of the barn, the vast differences in scale and framing techniques suggests that it was built for a different use.
Both the economic depression brought on by the reconstruction period after the Civil War, as well as competition from the fertile Shenandoah Valley, lead to a decline in the profitability of wheat production in the area. As a result, the region floundered economically as it searched for a new crop to take the place of wheat. No evidence from this period is found on the landscape, as is fitting for a period of economic depression.
By the early-20th century, the region surrounding Black Meadow, and much of rural Virginia that was located near urban areas, began to develop a thriving dairying industry. The need to mass produce milk, and other dairy products, developed by the end of the 19th century in Orange county, and Virginia, primarily in response to the growing city populations. With a large number of families moving from farms to cities, fewer families owned their own milking cows and it became increasingly difficult for city dwellers to provide for themselves. In conjunction with this trend, stronger sanitation laws restricted animals such as cows and pigs from wandering the streets in the cities. The new laws forced these essential animals out of the city and created a demand for agricultural products that could only be supplied by producers in the countryside. The statistics collected by the agricultural censuses clearly demonstrates the affect that both larger urban centers and stronger sanitation laws had on the county. By 1890, Orange County claimed 2,890 milch cows with a total of 868,012 gallons of milk and 137,973 pounds of butter (a 250% increase from 1850) produced on county farms. In 1900, there were 1,068 farms reporting dairy products in Orange County, ranking 39th in Virginia. A total of 939,318 gallons of milk were produced in the county in 1899 with 106,258 gallons sold ranking 15th in Virginia in number of gallons sold.
The earliest structure on Black Meadow that relates to the dairying industry is the poured concrete milk house just south of the main house. While the small structure has lost an original doorway (it was converted into a window sometime after 1930), wooden door and roof, the milk cooler and wellhead remain intact within the original walls, maintaining the building’s integrity of association and feeling.
The 1943 dairy barn also serves to tie the property to the pervasive dairy industry. The structure demonstrates a fully-formed example of a building type that had evolved expressly for the dairy industry. The design of dairy barns evolved in response to the guidance included the use of ventilation systems, concrete blocks, an increase in number of windows, changes in the type of windows, and the incorporation of milk houses and silos into the plan. Other suggestions were for barns to have a width of 36 feet and 4 inches, constructed of stone or concrete on the first story, frame on the upper stories, and with concrete floors. Plans provided by private companies suggested metal frame windows that were hinged on the bottom to allow for enhanced ventilation.[xxix] Black Meadow’s dairy barn follows these architectural design guidelines. For example, the first story is entirely made of concrete blocks, as is the attached milk house. Both structures also incorporate the recommended concrete floors. The upper stories of the buildings are wood frame and the barn features a hood joist to assist in elevating the hay to the loft areas. Doors in the floors of the barn also allow for hay to be dropped from the loft to the ground floor. The upper sash of the metal frame barn windows are also set in a hopper style, following the standards given by the VDSA and allowing for upwards air circulation. The diary barn at Black Meadow features an intact exterior, but underwent numerous renovations on the interior. The stanchions and other equipment associated with dairying were removed in the 1970s when the Von Wulffens converted the property into a horse breeding facility.
The landscape of Black Meadow is most reflective of this period. While the mid-20th century fencing has long since disappeared, the field/forest boundaries are still readily apparent and serve to define the rough three hundred acres of existing pastureland. The extended landscape found in Black Meadow’s viewshed similarly retains its pastoral feel and much of surrounding land is still in active use as pasture
The region as a whole had largely converted to raising beef cattle by the second half of the 20th century. Large-scale dairy farming and the advancement of refrigeration technologies has allowed massive dairying collectives in other parts of the state, and other parts of country, to serve the markets that once depended on local dairy farms. No evidence remains on the property that relates to this regional change in agricultural production.
With the influx of capital that came as a result of ownership of the Von Wulffens, Black Meadow was once again transformed. In this case, the property, specifically the dairy barn, was converted into a thoroughbred breeding facility. Other properties in the area, including Montpelier and Old Keswick, had already established breeding facilities and the region as a whole was becoming known for its horse-related culture (including several fox hunting clubs such as the Keswick Hunt and the Rapidan Hunt). Horse breeding activities ended at Black Meadow in the 1990s when the Von Wulffens decided to sell Black Meadow after their ancestral lands in Eastern Germany were restored. The current owners plan to continue a commercial horse business on the property.
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Benjamin, Asher. The Architect or Practical House Carpenter. 1930. Reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1988.
Davidson and Rawlings. Several famous families of Orange County (manuscript held at Special Collections, University of Virginia)
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Isaacs, Rhys. The Transformation of Virginia: 1740-1790. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1982.
Kniffen, Fred B. “Folk Housing: Key to Diffusion.” Common Places: Readings in American Vernacular Architecture, ed. Dell Upton and John Michael Vlach, 3-26. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1986.
Lanier, Gabrielle and Bernard Herman. Everyday Architecture of the Mid-Atlantic: Looking at Buildings and Landscapes. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1997.
Louis Berger Group. Historic Context for Richmond Area Dairy Barns, c. 1900-1955 (Draft). Digital file stored in the Virginia Department of Historic Resources Archives.
McAllister and McAllister. A field Guide to American Houses. New York, NY: Knoff, 1984
Miller, Ann. Antebellum Orange: The Pre-Civil War Homes, Public Buildings and Historic Sites of Orange County, Virginia. Orange, VA: Moss Publications, 1988.
Moore, John H. Albemarle: Jefferson’s County 1727 – 1976. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1976.
O’Dell, Jeff M. et al. Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District NRHP Nomination, Virginia SHPO, November 1990.
Orange County Courthouse Land Records. Orange, Virginia.
Pocock, W.F.. Architectural Designs for Rustic Cottages, Picturesque Dwellings, Villas, and Etc; with appropriate scenery, plans and Descriptions. London, 1807.
Reiff, Daniel D. Houses from Books: Treatises, Pattern Books, and Catalogs in American Architecture, 1738-1950: A History and Guide. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2001.
Schuyler, David. Apostle of Taste: Andrew Jackson Downing: 1815-1852. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1996.
Scott, Paul H. “The Scott Family of Orange County,” William and Mary Quarterly 19, no. 4 (1939): 485-509.
Upton, Dell. “Pattern Books and Professionalism: Aspects of the Transformation of Domestic Architecture in America, 1800-1860,” Winterthur Portfolio 19, nos. 2/3 (1984): 107-150.
Vlach, John Michael. Back of the Big House. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
Wenger, Mark. “The Dinning Room in Early Virginia,” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture Vol 111. (1989): 149-160.
[i] Paul H. Scott, The Scott Family of Orange County and Davidson and Rawlings, Several famous families of Orange County (manuscript held at Special Collections, University of Virginia). 1934
[ii] John and Ann Scott were buried at Edgefield and later reinterred at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.
[iii] Ann L. Miller, Antebellum Orange: The Pre-Civil War Homes, Public Buildings and Historic Sites of Orange County, Virginia (Orange, VA: Moss Publications, 1988), p. 36.
[iv] Orange County, VA Deed book 44, page 74.
[v] Ann Miller in Antebellum Orange gives the house a circa 1848 date assuming John and Ann Scott constructed the main house. However, W.W. Scott lists John Scott as being “of Edgefield” in his family bible. In addition, John and Ann Scott gave large tracts of land to their other children shortly after they married, similar to John Wickliffe Scott. In 1852, William Cowherd Scott, the oldest son, received 575 acres (later known as ‘Waverly’) two years following his marriage; see Orange County, VA Deed book 42, page 271. The same year John Wickliffe received Black Meadow, John and Ann Scott deeded a tract of land, 337.20 acres, to Ann Eliza Garnett one year following her marriage to Joel Garnett. The deed states that this land is part of a tract of land “on which [John and Ann Scott] now reside” see Orange County, VA Deed book 44, page 77. Also, the 1850 agricultural census of Orange County lists John Scott with his farm totaling 1,400 acres, whereas the Black Meadow tract equaled only 800 acres.
[vi] Orange County, VA Deed book 48, page 7
[vii] Orange County, VA Deed book 58, page 362.
[viii] Orange County, VA Deed book 88, page 91.
[ix] McAllister and McAllister, A field Guide to American Houses. (New York, NY: Knoff, 1984), 182.
[x] Dell Upton, “Pattern Books and Professionalism,” Winterthur Portfolio 19, no. 2/3 (1984): 107
[xi] “Just as in New England and the North, all sorts of new house forms came into being in this exuberantly creative period (1830-1855), so in the South new kinds of house plan[s] rapidly developed” Talbot Hamlin, “Greek Revival Architecture in America” (New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1944), 205
[xii] Dell Upton, “Pattern Books and Professionalism,” Winterthur Portfolio 19, nos. 2/3 (1984): 108.
[xiii] A.J. Downing. The Architecture of Country Houses New York, Appleton and Co., 1850, 44
[xiv] For a detailed description of the evolution of the parlor and dining room in Virginia please see Mark Wenger’s “The Dinning Room in Early Virginia” Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture Vol 111 149- 159.
[xv] Jeff M. O’Dell, “Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District,” National Register Nomination, 12/1989, Section 7, page 15.
[xvi] Jeff M. O’Dell, “Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District,” National Register Nomination, 12/1989. Section 7, page 15.
[xvii] The ubiquitous I-house form is defined by its side-gable roof, a two-room length with center hall, one room depth, and two stories height. According to renowned cultural geographer Fred Kniffen, the I-house became a “symbol of economic attainment by agriculturalists and remained so associated throughout the Upland South and its peripheral extensions….Of all old folk types, the I-house is by far the most widely distributed, notably as a rural dwelling.”
[xviii] Jeff M. O’Dell, “Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District,” National Register Nomination, 12/1989. Section 7, page 30.
[xix] Jeff M. O’Dell, “Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District,” National Register Nomination, 12/1989. Section 7, page 30.
[xx] W.F. Pocock. Architectural Designs for Rustic Cottages, Picturesque Dwellings, Villas, and Etc; with appropriate scenery, plans and Descriptions. London, 1807.
[xxi] While John Wickliffe Scott, the second son of a wealthy father, was well-off when compared to neighboring farmers, he still did not have the resources to maintain a house the size of those built by his forefathers (such as “Waverly”). The 1860 Federal Census lists John Wickliffe Scott as a farmer with $16,000 ($340,425.53 in 2004 dollars) in personal property and $14,222 ($302,595.74 in 2004 dollars) in real estate value, which reflects his estate at Black Meadow. The census also reveals that John W. Scott’s immediate family was similarly wealthy. Listed below John Wickliffe Scott in the 1860 census is his older brother, William C. Scott, who was known to have resided at “Waverly,” approximately five miles south of Orange and approximately seven miles from Black Meadow. Compared to his older brother, John Wickliffe Scott’s value in real estate and personal property is approximately $6,000 less ($127,659.57 in 2004 dollars). John and Ann Scott, father and mother of John Wickliffe and William, are listed in the census directly below William C. Scott. Their father’s personal property value was not listed, although his real estate of Edgefield totaled $18,805 ($400,106.38 in 2004 dollars) in 1860.[xxi] From these findings, it is apparent that neither John W. Scott, nor his family, was among the wealthy elite that could afford a house that obtained the status of “Mansion.” However, it is important to remember that while Black Meadow is comparatively diminutive when set beside some of the grander houses in Orange County, it was still considered a large house during a period when small one or two room dwellings housed a majority of the population.
[xxii] John Michael Vlach, Back of the Big House. 43
[xxiii] Brownwell, Loth, Rasmussen and Wilson. The Making of Virginia Architecture. 278
[xxiv] Rhys Isaacs. The Transformation of Virginia. 305
[xxv] Rhys Isaacs. The Transformation of Virginia. 305
[xxvi] Open plan refers to a plan which opens directly into a primary living space
[xxvii] Lanier and Herman, Everyday Architecture of the Mid-Atlantic: Looking at Buildings and Landscapes. 177.
[xxviii] John H. Moore. Albemarle: Jefferson’s County 1727 – 1976. 1-3
[xxix] Louis Berger Group, 6.