The Waterford Foundation wishes to thank the village residents who open their doors and share the history of their unique homes with visitors. During the Waterford Fair, some villagers graciously open their homes to fairgoers. Docents welcome you and speak about the history, architecture and furnishings of these dwellings. Docents will introduce you to the cast of colorful characters who once inhabited these fascinating houses. They were Quakers and staunch abolitionists, slave-owners, merchants, artisans, freed slaves, warriors, and idealists. Three centuries of life in a unique American village will tell the back-story to your visit to the Waterford Fair.
|Friday, October 2|
|Samuel Steer House|
|Jacob Mendenhall House|
|Saturday, October 3|
|Sunday, October 4|
|Waterford Baptist Church|
15511 Second Street
This house has had few owners during its nearly 200-year history. It was apparently built shortly before 1820 when David and Elizabeth Janney, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), sold it to fellow Quaker farmer and merchant Isaac Walker (1781-1851) for $350. After his death, Walker’s widow, the former Susan Talbott, lived here until her own passing in 1872. Two years later her executors, sons James M. Walker and J. Edward Walker, sold it to Elizabeth Janney Sidwell Phillips (1827-1913). Elizabeth was herself a widow (of Thomas Phillips (1813-1865). She had already raised four sons (losing a daughter in infancy) and helped run the family farm, today’s “Phillips Farm,” with her sons. The Phillips farm adjoins the property at the rear and has been protected in perpetuity by the Waterford Foundation.
In 1874 Mrs. Phillips moved from the farm “into town” with son Arthur, his wife and their own son, as well as her two spinster sisters Martha and Ann Sidwell. Farm account books indicate that she was making payments for items as diverse as construction of a ladder and arranging for carriage and shoe repair. In 1872, she credited Matthew Harvey, one of several trustees for the school for African-American children down Second Street, for 18 days of husking corn and cutting a cord of wood in partial payment for the house he rented on the farm.
Elizabeth Phillips left the town house and contents to her son Arthur when she died in 1913. He sold it to Peter H. Carr (1843-1922), a veteran of the Confederate Cavalry and the first non-Quaker owner. The property remained in the Carr family until 1941. That year, Carr’s commissioners sold the house to local dairy farmer Ernest M. Edwards, beginning a long chapter of residency by that family. The current owner bought it from Ernest’s descendants in 2014.
Part of this property is protected through a preservation easement donated to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
15533 Second Street
In 1810 Quaker Mahlon Janney (1731-1812), son of Waterford’s founder Amos Janney, sold an unimproved acre to Joseph Talbott for $100. By 1823, when Mary Ann Taylor (born 1797) bought a portion of the property from John Palmer, the $1,050 purchase price indicates that a house had been built. Taylor owned it until her death in 1876. Quakers Franklin and Mary “Molly” Dutton Steer owned the house from 1882 until 1891. Molly’s pastel rendering of the Phillips Farm and Short Hill to the west survives as an iconic image of the Landmark. The view remains essentially unchanged.
Some 60+ years after the Steers’ residence, the MacCallum family from New York repaired the then-dilapidated home in the 1950s, retaining much of its original detail and several unusual features: a ceiling trap door through which children were passed from the kitchen to a sleeping loft and a working kitchen well. The MacCallums added the wing to the south along the street. Beneath the stucco is brick on a stone foundation. The original section has a typical hall-and-parlor floor plan. The MacCallums named the property Catoctin Creek and operated a boys’ school and camp here.
In the 1990s, authors Tony Horwitz and wife Geraldine Brooks (each the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize) added a plain porch and opened the back room to the gardens. In defining the kitchen area, they kept the character of an early 19th century house, acquiring flooring from a barn in Frederick, Maryland, ceiling beams from Rectortown, Virginia, and period crofter’s furniture (cupboard, dresser and workbench) from Limerick, Ireland In 2002 an outbuilding constructed by furniture maker Courtney Fair was added in consultation with the National Trust.
Catoctin Creek is open through the courtesy of owner Sharyn Franck.
Waterford Baptist Church
15545 High Street
Waterford’s Baptists had met in private homes for some years before 1853, when a group of local men purchased for $60 a vacant lot on High Street and erected a handsome Greek-Revival building. The trustees were farmers Washington Myers, Thomas Rogers, George D. Smith, Jonah Orrison and C.M. Vandevanter, along with builder William Nettle, tradesman Presley K. Dorsey and saddler Asa Brown.
The congregation flourished in its new home, until the Civil War descended on a divided Waterford. Then, because a number of congregants were secessionist, including at least one firebrand minister, the building was taken over in the summer of 1862 by a locally raised federal cavalry unit, the newly formed Loudoun Rangers. That seizure and other actions drew the ire of Elijah V. White’s Rebel cavalry, most of them fellow Loudouners, and at dawn on the morning of August 27th they launched a surprise attack. The outnumbered federals barricaded themselves in the church and fought back until their ammunition ran low and mounting casualties forced their surrender. A month later, when the tide of battle had turned after Antietam, advancing Union forces again occupied the church for a time as a hospital. By the end of the war the building was a wreck. Bullets had torn through the front façade “as if through paper . . . and pews, pulpit, doors and windows, plaster and woodwork [had been] shot up.” Horses had been stabled on the lower level. The building did not reopen until 1876, when the church was “reorganized” and members raised funds to rebuild. A decades-long campaign to win compensation for damages caused by federal forces ultimately failed.
An entirely different picture of the church emerged in May 1909, at a reception for their new minister Mr. Templeton. “The decorations consisted of evergreens and cut flowers in great abundance. The room was brilliantly lighted with Japanese lanterns and other soft, beautiful lights, producing an effect of lasting beauty and fragrance. The Waterford orchestra was present and gave much pleasure to the occasion.”
Earlier that same year, when the old Waterford Academy across High Street burned, classes were held in the church until the school was rebuilt. The congregation overcame another challenge in recent years when a fire caused extensive damage. The members again repaired and the church continues to thrive.
The building is open courtesy of the congregation of the Waterford Baptist Church.
Samuel Steer House
15580 Second Street
In 1856, Waterford miller Samuel C. Means (1827-1884) purchased vacant lots 39 and 40 of Mahlon Janney’s 1814 subdivision. By January 1861, with war looming and busy with his mill on Main Street, Means sold to Robert W. Thomas (1825-1905), a blacksmith and hotel keeper. Thomas promptly built this house, but by September 1861, when Confederate troops occupied Waterford, they took over the new house for a hospital.
Later in the war, when the Rebels had withdrawn, Quaker businessman Samuel Steer (1811-1883) rented the house and moved his family into town from his farm south of the village for safety; he finally purchased it in 1867 for $700. Northern sympathizer Steer spent much of the war “exiled” at nearby Point of Rocks, Maryland, serving as the U.S. Customs Agent. During the war, his daughter Sarah and her young neighbors Lida and Lizzie Dutton co-established the fervently pro-union Waterford News. The young women would note, in their paper, after their fathers’ rare visits home, that John Dutton and Samuel Steer had “returned safely to the United States . . . .” In 1864 Steer was arrested by Confederates as he tried to visit his family and imprisoned for his Union sympathies.
At the close of the war, Sarah Ann Steer (1837-1914), held classes for village African-American children, first in her home, then in 1867 at the new one-room school just down Second Street. She taught until 1870 when that school became part of the County’s public school system. Her sister Ella taught at the first public school for white children, the Waterford Academy, the predecessor of the Old School on Fairfax Street.
In the 1980s, owners enclosed a porch. The present owners added an outbuilding, remodeled and enlarged the kitchen, installed a patio and designed and put in a garden with stone walls and a pond.
The Samuel Steer house is open through the courtesy of Ed Lehmann and Edith Crockett.
15619 Second Street
In 1814, widow Mary Braden Fox (1769-1828) purchased Lot 61 of Mahlon Janney’s land at the southern edge of Waterford, acreage his heirs had subdivided on his death two years earlier. She paid $53.
Fox sold the property in 1826 for $95 to Susan/Susanna Burns/Byrnes, a woman of modest means, possibly of mixed race. The relatively low price suggests that only the fieldstone part of the house (just one room on each floor) had been built, possibly at the direction of Mary’s son-in-law David Shawen. Pennsylvania-born William Nettle purchased the house for $150 in 1853, from William G. Wright, a descendant of Susan Burns. Nettle, who has been credited with this earlier portion, may instead have built the frame addition that doubled the size of the house. This could explain the existence of the interior chimney, an unusual feature in Waterford.
By 1879 Quaker Milton Schooley (1833-1908), who owned the frame mill and large brick house (“The Dormers” ) next door, purchased the “house and lot” for $319. It soon became the house of Schooley’s niece Amanda and her husband, Albert T. Shawen (1862-1909), a grandson of David. Albert helped put out a major fire at the Livery Stable in the center of town about 1900 and in 1909 helped fight the fire that destroyed Waterford Academy, the predecessor to the Old School. Sadly, Shawen’s exertions led to a fatal pneumonia. One of his sisters, Miss Mary Shawen (1858-1975) taught at the Old School in the early 1900s.
As with many other Waterford houses, a porch was added to the front in the late 19th century; and again, like many other Waterford houses, the porch was removed during the mid-20th century when fashions changed. In 1992 present owners, Ann and Tom Mathews, built a two-story wing at the rear of the house for which they received a Landmark Award for a sensitive addition to a historic structure. In 1997, when the kitchen was remodeled, the main entry was moved from the side and restored to its original position at the front of the house.
The Shawen House has been protected by the gift of a preservation easement to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is open through the courtesy of its current owners, Ann and Tom Mathews.
Jacob Mendenhall House
15620 Second Street
Quakers Jacob Mendenhall (1788-1822) and his wife the former Beulah Thomas, were “received on certificate from Baltimore Monthly Meeting” in 1813. The couple immediately settled into their new village, buying two quarter-acre lots from the estate of Mahlon Janney in 1814 for $97.25 and constructing the house shortly thereafter. It was built of locally made brick and has two front doors, a feature more commonly seen in Pennsylvania.
As a new member of Fairfax Meeting in 1815, Jacob served on a meeting committee to establish a school for Quaker education and became headmaster that year. One of his students, Noah Swayne, later achieved prominence when appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
Mendenhall and Isaac Walker owned and operated a store in Waterford from 1816-1819. Mendenhall was a stockholder and cashier of the first bank in Loudoun County—also in Waterford—where he was responsible for day-to-day operations. Jacob served as clerk of Fairfax Meeting.
Jacob’s only child, Hannah, who inherited the house after her father died in 1822, operated a school in the large first-floor room in the 1830s. She married Lewis D. Worley, postmaster of Waterford, in 1838. One of their daughters, Susan Worley, taught at Frying Pan Road School in Fairfax County and boarded at nearby Sully Plantation.
In 1867 the Worleys sold the house to Rachel Steer, who made it her home for 20 years. Rachel (1814 –1912) is buried in the Quaker Cemetery.
In 1896 the house was conveyed to the Methodist Church and was used as a parsonage for almost 50 years. The brick kitchen wing burned in 1915 and was replaced with a larger frame addition.
The most recent addition (to the rear of the house) was completed in 2013.
The Jacob Mendenhall House is protected through a preservation easement to the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission and is open through the courtesy of its owners, Bob and Judy Jackson.
15640 Second Street
James Moore Sr. (c. 1757-c. 1826) a Quaker tanner and miller, was a son of Thomas Moore (1730-1799), an immigrant from Waterford, Ireland, who brought his family to what was then called “Janney’s Mill” in the 1780s. James built this house on lots purchased from the estate of Mahlon Janney in 1815; it remained in the family until his nephew, blacksmith James Moore Steer died in 1874.
Old Acre is constructed of brick handmade in Waterford and laid in Flemish bond pattern on the front and (less stylish and expensive) common American bond on the sides and back. Research suggests that Moore built the southern wing (on the right as you face the house) as a one room, one or one-and-a half story structure in the early 19th century. The roof of this original wing was raised to two stories in 1910. Now housing the living room, the ground floor contains the original walk-in fireplace (over seven feet wide) with a bake oven and cooking crane.
The center hall and northern wing were added about 1818 by Moore. Much of the early fabric of the house remains, including random-width heart-pine floors, four fireplaces and mantels, old locks and hardware, chair rails, paneled doors, high ceilings and deep window sills. Unlike many other houses in the village, this house has remained the same size for almost 200 years.
James Moore’s executor sold the building in 1838 to his nephew James Moore Steer, a prominent Quaker who served on the town council in the 1830s. He and a partner, Reuben E. Schooley, operated several businesses along Factory Street, including a wheelwright shop, a cold iron factory, warehouse and blacksmith shop. They manufactured the Steer and Schooley seed drill, one of the first to be placed on the market commercially. The circa 1800 smokehouse still stands near the old hand dug well.
Old Acre is open through the courtesy of its current owners Wendy Roseberry and Brian Whelan.
40155 Main Street
This string of three apparently separate buildings has a convoluted architectural history. The land on which they stand was lots 14 and 15 of Joseph (and later, his son Thomas) Janney’s subdivision of Waterford in 1792. From at least 1803-1805, David Goodwin had a shoemaker’s shop and dwelling here. As you look at the buildings, Goodwin’s shoe shop was the structure to the far right (40155) and his dwelling was to the far left (40157). David, his wife and their 8 children left a light footprint in Waterford. Born before 1770, David apparently spent his early years at nearby Goose Creek, purchasing items as diverse as “corn, rye, a silk handkerchief and comb” from merchant Israel Janney between 1785 and 1787.
Goodwin apparently moved to Waterford by 1803 and was briefly in business with William Goodwin—possibly a brother, who was also a shoemaker. By 1816, David’s shoe shop was home to tailor John F. Sappington and his six children. The central building used to be an alley between the shoe shop and dwelling, but Sappington converted it into more living space in 1815 or 1816. Widow Elizabeth Sullivan rented out the house at what is now 40157 until about 1845, when she sold the dwelling to a newly-wed village tailor, Charles Sappington, son of John. 40157 has been under separate ownership for some years now.
The entire complex is a bank building of frame construction on a stone foundation. Each end unit has an interior hall-parlor plan. In this configuration, the front door opens directly into the principal room, known as the hall. This room includes the fireplace and stair. Only the finest dwellings contained a fireplace in each room. In days past, these structures were part of a longer row of two additional buildings to the left, but these other buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1965.
In 1845 John Sappington’s son Charles, also a tailor, married townswoman Amelia Rinker, a seamstress. They had a son, William, in 1846. By 1854, Amelia had separated from her husband, who was beating her son, and “verbally abusing, beating and aggravating” her. She successfully sued for divorce from her husband and moved into a portion of the Sappington home—nearest the mill.
During this troubled couple’s 12 years of living one door from each other, Charles lived at 40157 continuing his work as a tailor. Amelia made her living as a seamstress/dressmaker, and according to her great-granddaughter, also ran an “eatin’ house to support herself and her son during the Civil War.”
40174 Main Street
In 1825, Lewis Klein opened this building as a “house of entertainment” —a tavern. He had purchased the lot from Quaker William Hough a decade earlier for $80. Like many of its neighbors on Main Street, it was designed for mixed use—a store or other business on the ground floor and a residence above. It therefore had no interior staircase between the first and second floors until a 1950s modernization.
The present large downstairs room was built as two rooms with a central corridor; it has seen many uses over the years. After serving as a tavern the space became variously an apothecary and hardware store. In the 1880s the building was the home and office of Dr. G. E. Connell, an enterprising physician. He introduced the first telephone to the village in 1884 and charged customers ten cents to call the railroad depot at Clarke’s Gap, three miles distant. In the early 20th century, a side addition was used as a barbershop. In the early 1950s, a new owner painted the house the color “of the setting sun on Waterford brick.” The paint was meant to slow weathering of the soft, locally-made brick; it has been repainted in other shades since. In more recent years, the Pink House has been a popular bed and breakfast destination.
The present garden area has seen a succession of buildings over the past 200 years, including blacksmith and wheelwright shops and a succession of stores well into the 20th century. A town hall and informal auditorium occupied the loft area of a large stable on the site. One of these shops stood where the new stone kitchen now stands. That building served briefly as a residence. During an exceptionally rainy period with water pouring down the hill behind, a tenant joked, “I have the most modern house in Waterford— running water in every room!”
The previous owners, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Anderson protected the Pink House with the gift of an easement to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
The Pink House is open through the courtesy of the current owners, David and Kathy Middleton.
40200 Church Street
This is one of several village buildings that looks older than it actually is. In the 1970s, the late owner George Bentley constructed it using discarded railroad ties from the defunct Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, hence the playful name. (“The Old W&OD trail,” part of the Northern Virginia Park Authority, now links Purcellville’s old train station via bicycle/walking trail through Fairfax County to Alexandria.)
Mr. and Mrs. Bentley came to Waterford in the 1940s and raised a family, soon becoming active and loyal members of the non-profit Waterford Foundation. They were tireless workers each year at the annual Homes Tour and Craft Exhibit. Ruth Bentley wrote a weekly column about Waterford for the Loudoun Times-Mirror through the 1960s. Both worked to restore dilapidated houses they purchased in the village, all the while commuting to Washington, D.C. to work.
The log structure served originally as storage space for the Bentleys’ home on the hill behind the house (“The Hough House” at 40205 Main Street) but was later made into a residence. The land on which it stands had belonged to the extensive Hough family, prominent in village history from 1801 until the 1940s.
The present owners found the garden and outbuildings “in pretty good shape,” changing only the patio area. They also upgraded the plumbing—renovating a bathroom—and repainted the interior.
Old WaOD is open through the courtesy of the current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Schmitt.