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Elmhurst (The Tavern at the Bridge)
Elmhurst was strategically located near the tollgate and covered bridge that carried the James River and Kanawha Turnpike over the Greenbrier River. Henry Hunter built the brick house to serve as a tavern and made it the focal point of an extensive group that included stables, barns, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, and gristmill. The double-pile house is fronted by a giant-order portico, supported by piers, with an unusual paneled, stepped parapet in place of a pediment. The 4-foot-wide front door is framed by side lights and surmounted with a fanlight with an intricate sash arrangement. Behind the main block, a long rear wing contains a kitchen with a huge fireplace and built-in ovens, reminders of when the house served as a tavern.
With each replacement of the bridge over the Greenbrier, the level of the highway in front of the house has risen, and Elmhurst now stands well below the road. Moreover, given its close proximity to the confluence of Howard's Creek and the Greenbrier River, the house has suffered a great deal of water damage from floods in recent years.
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