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The Plains

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VA 245 and 55

Originally a small agricultural crossroads town, now in the heart of horse country, The Plains has been “boutique-ized” in recent years. It boasts a number of large houses along Virginia 245, as well as a substantial former school building (c. 1900) of concrete block at the west end of town. The major focus of architectural interest is Grace Episcopal Church (1916–1918, William H. Irwin Fleming; Virginia 55 west of intersection with Virginia 245), an impressive design by a Washington, D.C., architect trained at George Washington and Cornell universities who was described by a contemporary as “shy and introverted.” Fleming never employed a draftsman and was known for controlling all aspects of his designs. Here Fleming created a masterpiece, nominally Neo-Gothic in style, in which the only orthodox revival element is the tower. Otherwise the building is “modern,” with its long, huge sloping roof and tall, abstract lancet windows. The random rubble stonework, which, according to local legend, was supplied by nearby farmers, is masterful. The interior is a wide expanse with king-post trusses, purlins, and rafters. Moravian tile from Henry Mercer's works near Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is used in the sanctuary. The original glass was by Century Stained Glass of Philadelphia, but it has been replaced. The chancel window (1920) is by Henry Wynd Young of New York. William Burnham of Boston supplied new pictorial nave windows in the 1970s.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Richard Guy Wilson et al.
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Citation

Richard Guy Wilson et al., "The Plains", [, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-01-NP20.

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 113-113.

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