One of Norfolk's most successful post-Revolutionary builders and the scion of a distinguished seventeenth-century family, William Willoughby designed and constructed his own house in 1794, after having purchased the site of the former Masonic lodge the previous year. Typical of Tidewater houses at the turn of the nineteenth century, the Willoughby-Baylor House has a side passage with entrances to the north and south and a double parlor to the east. Each parlor contains a hearth, allowing for a symmetrical arrangement of chimneys on the east wall. Apart from the Flemish bond brickwork used for the walls and the wooden cornice at the eaves, there is virtually no ornament on the exterior. The handsomely proportioned Greek Revival porch, with its sturdy, paired Doric columns, was probably added to the north entrance around 1820, not long after Willoughby's daughter, Mary, married William Sharp and took possession of the property. Ownership of the Willoughby-Baylor House passed out of the family in 1890, and the building eventually fell into disrepair along with the surrounding neighborhood. The Historic Norfolk Foundation rescued it from demolition when the immediate area was slated for redevelopment in the 1960s. The house was restored in 1968–1969, at which time a reproduction of the freestanding kitchen was constructed on the original foundations to the south of the main house. The interior contains period furnishings.
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1794, William Willoughby. c. 1820, porch addition. 1968–1969, restoration. 601 E. Freemason St. Open to the public
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