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Grassdale (Homestead)

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c. 1830; c. 1870; later additions. 187 Spencer Penn Rd.

Tucked behind lush plantings, the weatherboarded house has experienced several changes, finally evolving into a lightly adorned Italianate house. Built for David Harrison Spencer and his wife, Mary Waller Dillard, the house's front section is log-bodied and may date from around 1830. As the Spencer family expanded to thirteen children, they added two rear ells, making the house U-shaped. It apparently underwent an Italianate remodeling c. 1870 when their postCivil War fortunes began to rise. The three-bay house has a wide two-story, gabled portico spanning the entrance bay. Twin interior chimneys rise from the metal roof that has a heavy overhang supported by curvilinear brackets. The house was part of a large tobacco plantation that included two tobacco factories, a general store, and a mill. Among the early surviving outbuildings are a brick kitchen now linked to the house, a log cabin that was once part of a row of slave quarters, a two-story frame office, and a brick smokehouse.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Grassdale (Homestead)", [Spencer, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 236-236.

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