You are here

Taylor-Whittle House

-A A +A
c. 1791. c. 1880–1885, additions. 1972–1975, restoration, Spigel, Carter, Zinkl and Herman. 227 W. Freemason St.
  • Taylor-Whittle House (Richard Guy Wilson)

The Taylor-Whittle House, like the Moses Myers House, is an elegant Federal town house that reflects the prosperity of Norfolk's postRevolutionary merchant class. Its builder may have been either George Purdie, owner of the building lot after 1788, or John Cowper, who bought the property in 1802 while he was mayor of the city. Stylistically it is so similar to the Moses Myers House as to suggest that they were both designed by the same person. The main block of the house is two and one-half stories tall, with a pedimented gable and off-center entrance facing West Freemason Street; fanlights are inserted into the gable and, at smaller scale, over the front door. A limestone belt course divides the first two levels, and limestone lintels with oversized keystones cap the windows on the street facades. Later additions include the Doric entrance portico, the twostory Italianate porch on the east side, and the brick wing on the south side.

As evidenced by the internal positioning of the twin chimneys, the plan of the house diverges considerably from the usual Tidewater arrangement of a side-passage entrance hall. Instead, a square entrance hall in the northwest corner features a graceful narrow staircase. A small chamber is located behind the entrance hall, and a double parlor fills the east portion of the house. The same four-part configuration is repeated on the upper level. Both upper and lower chambers are distinguished by finely detailed woodwork and Adamesque mantelpieces.

Richard Taylor purchased the house in late 1802, and descendants of the Taylor family later married into the Whittle family. A residence until the 1970s, the house was subsequently donated to the Historic Norfolk Foundation, restored, and acquired by the city. At present, it serves as the headquarters for the Junior League of Hampton Roads.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Taylor-Whittle House", [Norfolk, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 423-423.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.