Must-See RVA! — Reveille House

Must-See RVA! — Reveille House

A look into the history of Richmond places that are still part of our landscape.

October 2015

AKA Brick House
4200 Cary Street Road
Built, 1791
VDHR 127-0310

Reveille is a handsome example of an early 19th-century Federal-style country residence. Built by the Southall family of Henrico County, the house is one of a few surviving examples of the detached brick Federal house found in the Richmond area. The house has long been a familiar landmark in what is now a fashionable but densely developed residential area.

(Rocket Werks RVA Postcards)

The land on which Reveille was built was originally part of a tract of 417 acres in Henrico County, purchased by Darcey Southall of Amelia County in 1750. In 1757 Southall deeded 100 acres to his son Turner, then living in Henrico County. Turner died in 1791, leaving some confusion as to the ultimate disposition of his estate. The estate became the subject of much family dissension and litigation. Finally on May 18, 1831, a decree of the Henrico County Court ordered that a public auction of the tract of land called “The Brick House” be held on the premises and sold to the highest bidder.

October 2015

The advertisement required by the court described the tract as “land formerly owned by Col. Turner Southall and sometimes called, ‘Westham Tract’.” The notice stated that it contained 60 acres and suggested that “the brick house, at moderate expense, might be repaired and made a desirable place for a family residing in town to retire during the summer months.” The statement implies that the house was neglected from the time of the estate litigation to 1831, when it was sold at auction.

(ProQuest® Sanborn Maps Geo Edition™) — Sanborn Insurance Maps of Richmond, 1919-1952 vol. 5, 1925 Republished 1952 — Plate 373

The actual date of erection and the builder of Reveille are uncertain. It is known from the 19th-century dairy of Miss Rebecca William s that her family lived in the house circa 1806, when it was apparently rented. In plan the house does not follow the typical model of the country house as suggested in pattern books, but rather typifies the side-hall plan house that became popular in the Federal townhouse.


Indeed, the prototype for Reveille is found in houses that were erected in the City of Richmond circa 1790 to 1820. It is unfortunate that most of the salient examples have been destroyed.

The west wing containing the dining room was added in 1839. It was at this time that the house received its Greek Revival trim from improvements made by James M. Boyd, who sold the house in 1842.

October 2015

“Improvements” were further made by Dr . Richard A. Patterson, who acquired Reveille in 1869. Patterson reputedly replaced the original mantels with “grander” examples and the original front porch with a larger one. The next renovation occurred in 1920 when the kitchen wing was added by Elizabeth Crutchfield, who also attempted to restore the house to its original appearance. In 1950 the property and house were acquired by the Reveille United Methodist Church, a Methodist congregation formed from the merger of the Monument and Union Station Methodist Churches. Reveille presently houses the administrative offices of the church.

October 2015

The church, in fact, effectively conceals the presence of the house. Despite the fact that the address is Cary Street, it is not visible from the road, hidden away behind the sanctuary, and the bell tower.


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