Must-See RVA! — Castlewood

Must-See RVA! — Castlewood

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

June 2016

AKA, Poindexter House, The Old Parsonage
10201 Iron Bridge Road
Built, between 1810 – 1820
VDHR 020-0014

Castlewood, at the eastern edge of Chesterfield Court House, is at once one of the county’s finest and most puzzling early nineteenth-century houses. The five-part building, erected in several stages of uncertain sequence, contains a highly varied group of rooms whose embellishment ranges from the north wing’s naive gouge-work trim to the elaborate, finely wrought, but equally provincial decoration of the south wing. Probably executed in the 1830s, the woodwork in the south wing is apparently the work of an unknown, but highly imaginative, itinerant craftsman. The house was built in at least two, and possibly three, stages during the second decade of the nineteenth century. It probably achieved its present form by 1820.

(VDHR) — 1976 nomination photo

The core of the dwelling house is a two-story structure with its entrance in the west one-bay-wide gable end. A modern porch, designed by Richmond architect Scott Rawlings, replaces an Eastlake-style porch which formerly sheltered the entrance. The porch is modeled on that at Keswick Powhatan County. Its general shape coincidentally resembles markings left by the original porch, discovered when the later one was removed.

June 2016

The plan of Castlewood is very simple. Each of the wings and hyphens contains a single room, while the central block has an entrance hall stretching across the front with a parlor behind it.

The north wing is the earlier of the trio and, with its hyphen, appears on the basis of its proportions and details to predate any of the other sections, offer in cause to believe that it may have been built as a part of another structure and moved to its present site after the construction of the rest of the house.

June 2016

The south wing and hyphen, though clearly built later than any of the other three sections, are set on a Flemish-bond underpinning and consequently may antedate the existence of the north wing as part of the present house.

June 2016

One early outbuilding survives in the form of a frame, pyramidal roofed structure with a coved cornice. It may once have been a dairy, although its alteration for use as a garage has made its original function impossible to determine. An early photograph shows that, for at least part of its existence, the building stood next to the east end of the main block, near the exterior entrance to the basement dining room. (VDHR)

June 2016

Castlewood changed hands many times and has served a residence, a parsonage for traveling ministers, and a bank. Today, it’s the headquarters of the Chesterfield Historical Society.

(Castlewood is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


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