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Fort Egypt

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c. 1750-1775; 19th-century alterations. East side of Egypt Bend Rd., approximately 2 miles north of U.S. 211
  • (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)

Overlooking the South Fork of the Shenandoah River, this is among the most familiar Rhenish American buildings in the Shenandoah Valley. Built for Mennonite preacher Jacob Strickler on part of a ten-thousand-acre tract granted to Jacob Stover in 1730, the nearly square (36 × 32–foot) full-dovetailed log walls enclose a relatively intact four-room Ernhaus (hall-kitchen plan), as at the Abraham Heiston house (PG10). Here, though, a fourth room, perhaps a workroom, is partitioned from the rear of the Küche and provided with a small fireplace. The semi-subterranean ground floor is a classic example of a high-quality German American cellar with two insulated storage rooms, the inner one made superior by the use of a stone vault. It is likely that the Stube was originally heated with a five-plate iron stove backing into the nine-foot-wide Küche fireplace. The eighteenth-century German preference for such heating devices is nicely illustrated by a small elevated second-floor fireplace intended principally to provide coals for a stove in the larger room. The Küche seems to have remained largely unchanged despite later elaboration of the other rooms, and continued to serve as the principal circulation space. An early-nineteenth-century remodeling of the house improved the nature of the windows and some interior finishings. The hipped roof and rear shed are later nineteenth-century alterations, but the outline of the steeper old gable roof can be seen in the uneven surfaces of the original chimney.

Writing Credits

Edward Chappell
Anne Carter Lee



  • 1750


What's Nearby


Edward Chappell, "Fort Egypt", [Luray, 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, 83-83.

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