Scots-Irish, a few English, and then German settlers who came to the beautiful Catawba Valley in the second half of the eighteenth century found a hilly countryside with fertile soil, abundant water, and high-quality building stone. Although none of the earliest dwellings seem to have survived, many from the nineteenth century are extant. While varying in size and decoration, most are the simple, rectilinear farmhouses found throughout the region and have chimneys and foundations built of local limestone or the yellowish sandstone known as Catawba stone. Probably because of strong German influence in the valley, most of these antebellum weatherboarded houses are log-bodied. Many began as two-story hall-parlor-plan buildings and were later extended by one bay, thereby becoming a center-passage house. Rear ells were sometimes original to the house. Many outbuildings have survived and most are still in use at the valley's numerous dairy and cattle farms. Barns, summer kitchens, chicken houses, privies, meat houses, blacksmith shops, and corncribs abound and are best seen along VA 785.
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