Historic Buildings in Halifax County, Virginia
Glenwood - Circa 1847
7040 Philpott Road
Glenwood was originally part of the Glenn family tract that covered much of this area. James Anderson Glenn of Bloomsburg was one of the four children of Archibald and Mary Cunningham Glenn, born in 1836, was married in 1857 to Susan J. Major of Halifax County and lived at Glenwood.
Attached to the back of the house is the orginial frontier log cabin. The well, still being used today, was dug and built by slaves.
By Barbara Bagwell,
The Gazette-Virginian, April 5, 1996
Glenwood, off Rt. 58, will be open for the Halifax Woman's Club's Spring Homes Tour on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28 from 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. Six houses will be on tour, and tickets are $6.00.
At the end of the long plantation road from the highway the imposing Georgian house with hop roof, bracketed cornice, matching wings, and one-story Greek Revival porch creates a pleasant visit. It is the home of Walter and Barbara Bass, natives of this county who have just returned here to live. Barbara recently retired from a good many years of teaching math at St. Catherine's School in Richmond and is now teaching two days a week at Danville Community College, while Walter is so busy with his interest in history and his work on the house and yard that he doesn't have time to miss his job in research at American Tobacco Company. They bought this place several years ago and have been steadily restoring and improving it, as the recent addition of the wings on each side shows. They have filled it with an eclectic mix of antique and modern furnishings and accessories reflecting their travels and their interests.
The grove of old trees is a perfect setting for the circular drive in front of the house and for the garden the couple is laying off to the right with one hundred and fifty azaleas planted here and others in the round garden in the center of the circle.
The built-in greeting committee here is a pair of white and light brown spotted St. Bernards, glad to see company.
Entrance to the house is through double wood doors painted dark green and surrounded by diamond mullioned sidelights. This front part of the house was built in 1840 and has the original, heart pine floors and handsome woodwork typical of that period. Framing the doors is a wide T-shaped molding, and at the ceiling there is a three-step cornice. The balusters along the steps are topped just under the railing by an unusual molding with cathedral arches so typical of the Empire period. Barbara refinished the railing herself, and the house has all over it examples of her artistry in paintings, embroidery, and sewing. Walter is the builder, and they are both musically talented.
As the visitor enters the hall, he or she is surprised by the light streaming down from the second floor window set above the stair landing, which extends the width of the hall, a striking architectural feature of the house. The color of the walls is Williamsburg gold and the woodwork is putty. A glass and brass lantern fixture hangs over the Oriental runner on the floor, providing a setting for the pier mirror, and old blanket chest, a long Chippendale table, split-bottom chairs, and a low table holding a collection of arrowheads. A powder room opens off this hallway.
To the right is the living room with its tall windows and draperies made by Barbara, as they are in the rest of the downstairs. Those here are flowered, matching the Queen Ann wing chairs. The color of walls and woodwork repeats those in thehall, and the Oriental rug is predominantly rose-red and blue. One of Barbara's paintings hangs over the mantel, and opposite is a long Chippendale sofa upholstered in a rose red moire' with a Queen Ann coffee table in front. There are various arm and side chairs here, a schoolmaster's desk, and a Queen Ann highboy and lowboy. Three panels of Chinese embroidery hang on one wall, and the lamps also are Chinese.
The master bedroom, adjacent to the living room, occupies the new wing on the right. It features skylights, a large, walk-in closet and a bath with jacuzzi. Barbara made the off-white draperies with rose border and also embroidered the needlework sampler here. A flowered needlepoint rug picks up the colors in the room. The tall, walnut poster bed is covered with a white, woven coveriet,and the tester is adorned with tassel crochet trim. A small chest is at the foot of the bed and a rose velvet upholstered stool at the side for a step up. Duncan Phyfe pie crust tables are used at the side. A large dressing chest with mirror over it occupies one wall, and a smaller chest holds the TV. Book shelves fill one corner,and a rubbing from the temple of Confucius on their China trip and a Mayan rubbing from Mexico hang on one wall. The most interesting wall decoration is an assemblage of colorful interpretations that the art students at St. Catherine's did of the same picture of Barbara, to be one of her going away gifts. An electric organ enables Barbara to enjoy her music in spite of having given away her concert grand piano, due to its space consumption.
A return to the hall carries the visitor to the dining room on the left, where the long table with turned legs was made by Walter's great-great-grand-father. It stands on an Oriental rug, and a chandelier hangs over it. Chippendale chairs with needlepoint seats are used with it. A mirror framed in gold leaf hangs over the large plain mantel and the brick fireplace. In one corner is a very rare barrel-back corner cupboard holding blue and white Spode. On one wall a Regency sideboard stands and on another a large, lighted china cabinet. Over the door is a display of a series of rare French plates illustrating Lafayette's life in America. The piano here replaces Barbara's concert grand.
Next to this room is the new wing containing the kitchen. A Lawson sofa upholstered in blue and white plaid divides the sitting room half of the room from the cooking section. Unusual tables of contemporary design are used on each side of the sofa and a table of the same design holds the TV. This a bright room with uncurtained windows and an ivory vinyl floor. A black wrought iron lamp serves the Windsor rocker and is to one side of the breakfast table, which is notable for being made of two huge, old boards. Green, ladderback chairs are pulled up to the table. Ths is one of a number of small tables made of old pine by Halifax cabinet maker, Sam Thompson which are used throughout the house. Wall space is occupied by a lady's desk and a pie safe. Decorations include an oil painting by Barbara, Mayan rubbing in blue, a collection American Tobacco Company photographs brooght from Cuba in 1960, and other pictures from the Bass travels in Egypt, Japan, England, France, Germany, The Netherlands, China and Thailand.
In the kitchen pine cabinets with white knobs run the depth of the room. The counter tops are blue, and the appliances are black. Baskets, pottery, and other objects decorate the top of the upper cabinets. A free standing counter is behind the sofa, and also a chopping block finished beautifully to be ornamental as well as utilitarian. A Guatemalan rug is used in front of the sink.
Double French doors open to a back wrap-around deck, The right side of it is screened with a roof and has wrought furniture and a copper leaf fountain.
On return to the front hall the visitor enters the glass enclosed breezeway behind it, through which at one time the food was brought from the original part of the house, which became the kitchen when the present 1840 house was built.The Oriental runner covering the floor is flanked on each side by two old church benches, especially treasured, because they came from the old St. Catherine's chapel when it was remodelled. Book shelves fill in one corner, and interest is added with an Egyptian painting on papyrus and a collection of central American masks. The original log cabin, built it is thought in the 1700's, is entered here. Everything about this building is original. The wide, old floors and the pine mantel over the rock fireplace are finished natural. A pair of kerosene lamps stands on the mantel, and an antique carpenter's bench on the back wall. The covered stairway to the loft is located in the back corner. This room is now used mainly as an office and work shop. On one wall Barbara has modestly relegated the framed certificates of the honors and recognition she has received in her teaching career. This is a place for sewing machine, oil paints, and tools. A greenhouse has been planned in back of this room, where a porch now stands.
From the windows one can see an old tobacco barn transformed into a log cabin, which seems very much at home here. It was built by Walter and is now rented out.
Returning to the front hall, the visitor ascends the stairs to the upstairs hall, where a large rug in bright colors was hooked by Barbara and Walter. An embroidered piece from Guatemala hangs over a pine table, and a pair of English brass rubbings occupy another wall spot.
The bath opening off this hall has a natural floor, a gold framed mirror over gold-painted cabinets, and a distinctive sampler Barbara made.
To the right is a bedroom containing a vividly colored, 9xl2 hooked rug, also done by Barbara and Walter. The bed, as well as the wardrobe, was made by Walter's great-great-grandfather for his wedding. The antique dresser with mirror has the carved drawer pulls popular at that time. A pair of love seats upholstered in blue and white plaid face each other beside the fireplace, and a painting by Barbara hangs over the mantel.
Across the hall is another bedroom, which has white walls, dark painted woodwork, and printed draperies. An antique rope bed of light colored wood stands in one corner with a quilt rack beside it. The brick fireplace is in the center of the outside wall and has beside it a Windsor chair and a rose wing chair, accompanied by a small pine table. A low marble top and a large Empire chest with shaving mirror provide storage. As in most houses of this period the wardrobe replaces a closet and there is a marble top wash stand to serve instead of a bathroom.
Visiting this house confirms what people usually feel - that the most interesting houses are usually those that combine the old and the new and reveal the interests of their owners.
From Glenwood, go across Philpott Road to Cedar Grove Road, to Cedar Grove, the Blane-Pace home.
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The transcription and the updated photos are the work of Dan Shaw. In some cases modifications to the original text have been made to improve the flow of the story, correct typos, and insert new or clarifying information. Additional facts or further corrections are welcome. This author takes no credit for the original publications and its research. These local historians should be honored for the their endless hours of efforts to document this county's history for posterity.