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Fairfield, founded in the 1790s, was laid out with its Main Street along the Great Wagon Road (U.S. 11). Thomas McAlister, the town's developer, reserved a double lot for himself at the center of the town, where he built a house (RB39). The town grew in a linear fashion along the main road as was typical of towns on the Valley Turnpike and it never fully developed a cross street. Surviving early buildings include the Chittum (Van Pelt) House (c. 1827; 5535 N. Lee Highway), a brick, central-passage, single-pile dwelling; the Kessler House (c. 1790; N. Lee at Red Hill Road), a log building that has fine late Georgian detailing in its woodwork; and the Greek Revival Presbyterian Church (1848; 5508 N. Lee). Characteristic of Presbyterian meetinghouses in the Valley, it is a brick building with a pedimented gable and pilasters marking its bays. The United Methodist Church (1916; 5622 N. Lee) is frame with a corner tower, open belfry, and Gothic-styled stained glass windows. The former Bank of Rockbridge (1924; 5500 block of N. Lee) is built of rock-faced concrete block, a material popular as an inexpensive substitute for stone, and is typical of period commercial structures with its decorative metal cornice and large display window.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee

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