May 22, 2013

A Time Capsule

Sidna Allen House in Hillsville, VA

One sunny afternoon this past September, I had the opportunity to meet with one of the owners of Sidna Allen house, a historic house in Southwest Virginia. A house that stands beautifully on top of a hill in Hillsville, VA and faces a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge mountains in the distance. It also comes with a lot of history attached to it, perhaps dramatic too. Three books is said to have been written about the family who built this house. 

The Sidna Allen House is a historic house located near the town of Fancy Gap, in Carroll CountyVirginia. The house was built in 1911 for Sidna Allen, brother of Floyd Allen; however, he was arrested soon thereafter for complicity in the courthouse shooting of which his brother was accused, and never again lived there. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
On January 27, 1901 when Sidna Allen was 35 years old he got married to Bettie Mitchell. After Sidna and Bettie married, they decided to build a house. According to the book "The Courthouse Tragedy," the whole house was made of the best wood around, and there were 8 rooms in the house. In the book it says, "The floors were of oak, except the floor of our living room, which was white maple." The walls in the house were all plastered. It also says, "In the dining room we used quarter-sawed oak, finished in natural color wainscoting." The roof of the house was made of slate, which back then, all this wood and other materials were very expensive. They had a windmill at the house, and an acetylene generator which is what provided them the lights. The house back in 1911 was worth 13,000.00 and was said to be the most beautiful house in South-West Virginia. But a year later the Hillsvile courthouse tragedy occurred and Sidna and his wife had only lived there a year.
via- wikipedia

Click on any image to enlarge

Last year, a 101 years after the house was built, and 8 years since I have first seen it, and every time after that my curiosity building up to see what's inside, I finally got to see it. After a few inquiries, I found out who owned it and I asked for my permission to go inside and take some pictures. Very grateful that they accepted to meet me. 
The house though, sadly lays in a very poor state. After the Allens lost the house, it was passed on from landlord to landlord, until 20 years ago, the last lady that owned it, passed and she had left the house for her son and daughter. The daughter living with her family in WA and the son and his family live in a farm not far from the house, right in Hillsville. It has not been lived in for over 20 years and nothing has been done to maintain the house. But finally, in the summer of 2012, a group of people formed a foundation and together started working on gathering necessary means to restore the house. I was told contractors have been contacted and grants are being applied for to finally get the work done on this house.
Enough from me... see for yourselves, what I finally get to experience!!

Tattered through time. The distressed patina of weathered paint!

A Pink Hydrangea bush that has aged and now grown into a tree.

The living room is probably in the best shape then all other rooms in the house.
The wallpaper, though not original wallpaper from the Allens, made my heart skip a beat. The shabby chic loving gal, whats not to love! Pink faded florals on white. And the mantel is gorgeous, white tile with gold leaf  designs and beautiful woodwork.

The dining room has a built in hutch in the wall between dining and kitchen walls. 

Beautiful original stained glass windows.

 The bedroom lays as if people are still sleeping in it...sheets and all.

 Not just any sewing machine. The woodwork in the cabinet is like none I have seen on a vintage sewing machine before.

 Closets still have clothes hanging.

 After I went through the house, I was amazed and saddened at the same time. The history behind this house is amazing. The house itself is amazing- a beautiful Victorian structure. Sad of the condition its in. It needs so much work that in these economic times its going to take a lot to put together finances necessary to fix it. Enough to leave you wonder how much longer is it going to take till it gets the care it needs to be restored. Some walls have sagged, rooms have sagged as well! The barn in the back is long gone and left in a pile of rubble.

I hope that sometime soon, (maybe by some miracle too) something is done about this house, before its too late. It will be a real shame if its lost. Though I have not inquired about the house since... who knows maybe some things may have changed. 

1 comment:

Jennifer Hayslip said...

What an amazing historic home!! It's soo beautiful and yes...very sad that it's in a sad state and needs major renovation and repair. You cannot find homes today with the breathtaking detail as this home. A true gem!!