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Aurora (The Pink House, Penn Homestead)

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The Pink House, Penn Homestead
1853–1856. Penn Store Rd., 0.2 miles south of U.S. 58, 7 miles southeast of Critz

This large two-story frame Italianate house was built for Thomas Jefferson Penn, a wealthy farmer, merchant, and tobacco manufacturer. Aurora is a fashionable but conservative interpretation of Italianate with roots in traditional Virginia architecture. The square house is composed of identical front and rear units each covered by a low-hipped roof and linked by a central section with doors on each side. Scalloped bargeboards decorate the wide eaves of the roof and clustered chimneys rise from the front section's roof. The unusual double entrance door with two glazed leaves is centered between long windows. In a recent renovation, the dwelling's lacy, cast-iron front porch was replaced with a one-story Doric porch. Penn's tobacco operations were even more successful than those of the nearby Reynolds Homestead (PT10). Payrolls of his tobacco company were handled from the one-story, three-bay frame office in front of the house. Like the residence, it has scalloped trim on the eaves. The years before and after the Civil War were prosperous, but lasted only until the railroad bypassed the nearby small community of Penns Store in the early 1880s. The family eventually moved to Danville and to North Carolina, where some of them continued to manufacture tobacco products until their company was swallowed by J. B. Duke's American Tobacco Company.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Aurora (The Pink House, Penn 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, 240-240.

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