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Lynnside Historic District

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1845–1853. Both sides of Sweet Springs Creek, at intersection of WV 3 and 311

This rural complex at the upper end of the Sweet Springs valley contains two historic structures and two historic cemeteries, all evocative of times long past. William Lewis, member of one of the area's most prominent families, built the first Lynnside, long since gone, c. 1780. The present Lynnside, standing on a rise overlooking the creek valley from the north and approached by Cove Creek Road (Monroe County 3/14), was built by his grandson c. 1845. Originally a two-story, double-pile Greek Revival house with a giant-order portico, it burned in 1933. A partial restoration was effected, but only the first floor was completed. A new hipped roof was rebuilt at a lower level than the original, and the house has remained vacant ever since.

The family cemetery, high on a hill northwest of the house, contains the grave of John Floyd, governor of Virginia from 1830 to 1834, who died here while on a visit to his Lewis inlaws. The cemetery also contains the body of John Lewis (1754–1821). According to the inscription on his tombstone, he was a “friend & fellow soldier of Washington under whom as a Va. officer he fought bravely the battles of Brandywine, Monmouth, and with whom he passed the winter at Valley Forge.”

The old Catholic Cemetery, deeded to the church in 1882, adjoins the Lewis family cemetery. It and St. John's Chapel, established by the Lewises, bear witness to a family member's conversion to the faith. St. John's (c. 1853), on the south side of West Virginia 3 at its intersection with West Virginia 311, is a rectangular brick structure with a sawtooth brick cornice and a louvered octagonal belfry surmounted by a pyramidal steeple. Above the centered doorway is a recessed panel carrying the inscription “One Lord. One Faith. One Baptism. Eph. IV 5.” The church was restored in 1982–1983, but was closed in 1994. Until then it was West Virginia's oldest Roman Catholic church still in use.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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