The post–Civil War period saw the birth of Danville fortunes based on tobacco and cotton. The houses these entrepreneurs built on the so-called Millionaire's Row on Main Street just beyond downtown reflect their owners' affluence and the restrained stylistic evolution that Virginians tended to favor, but here the restraint is thrown off with a vengeance. Contributing to the stylistic fusion and confusion of these fanciful houses was the scarcity of professional architects and the reliance on imaginative local builder-architects who were not bound by stylistic canons. The row's earliest building, built for the city's first mayor, James Lanier, is this late Federal residence. It looks much later because of twentieth-century additions that include a full-height classical portico with paired Doric columns, a heavy cornice, window hoods, and one-over-one sash windows.
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