Shenandoah-Potomac Garden Council

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63rd Annual House and Garden Tour

1. STROTHER-VanMETRE HOUSE

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The main house was built in 1935-36; it is four-square style with both late Victorian and Craftsman features. The two-story back porch was enclosed in the early 1970s to allow for a larger remodeled kitchen and baths.

The current owner has continued to enlarge and remodel, while preserving the ambiance of the original house. The home has beautiful pine floors and period woodwork which was reproduced at a local mill for the newest additions. The L-shaped front porch provides entry to the front of the house as well as to the dining room.

The owner's collections of vintage china services are displayed; a number of antique furnishings include a mahogany drop-leaf dining table from estate of John Cobourn, long-time football coach at Martinsburg High School, for whom Cobourn Field is named.

Shown by Berk-Mar Garden Club.

2. NICKLAS HOUSE

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This lovely brick house, built in the early 1890s by William O. Nicklas, was occupied until 1971 by three generations of the Nicklas-Stewart families. An inviting and extensive front porch and porte-cochere were among the additions made by the family.

The exterior is brick and features a variety of late Victorian features, including twin Gothic peaks, two-storied bays on two sides of the house, hipped roofs, and cross-laid brick detailing.

The house has been beautifully maintained and features many of the original floors. The main floor's spacious rooms have impressive crown molding and fine wooden corbels under the mantles. Stately columns support the open stairwell and provide decorative interest in the first floor rooms.

Shown by Old Berkeley Garden Club.

3. GRAYCLIFF HALL

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Gargoyles crouch protectively on the roof-line, huge sconces clutched in dragon claws light the heavy metal-studded door. In the great room, a walk-in fireplace probably never roasted an ox, but it could. The paneled library is as cozy as the dining room is impressive.

A venerable old structure? No. Graycliff Hall is only three years old but its builder/owner has taken great pains to create something special in this hideaway along the Potomac River, recreating a 400 year old castle in Umbria, Italy, where he once stayed early in his years.

Upstairs, five of nine bedrooms offer expansive views of the river. A large screened porch with fire pit and comfortable seating for all the king's minions also enjoys the river view. The basement level is all about fun: bocce court, shuffleboard, air hockey and a theatre room are only some of the amenities this great house offers.

Shown by Shenandoah Garden Club. Refreshments will be served.

4. POPODICON

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The seventeen-room mansion has two stories and a mansard third story. The walls within Popodicon's main section are three bricks thick. Its many interesting furnishings include an original Oriental rug from Bengali and a handmade English needlepoint rug. A signed Renoir etching is among the artwork displayed. A grandfather clock made by Shepherdstown clock maker Jacob Craft, c. 1820, is one of the finest pieces in the house.

The State of WV purchased the estate for Shepherd University in 1964 and it is now the University president's business residence. The grounds and gardens were designed by Oglesby Paul, an associate of the famous landscape architect Frederick Olmstead. A southern magnolia tree on the Popodicon property was named the largest magnolia in Jefferson, Berkley and Morgan counties.

Shown by Dolley Madison Garden Club. Refreshments will be served.

5. THE STONE HOUSE MANSION

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The Stone House, also known as the John Strode House, boasts important historical significance to the area. Construction of the house in 1757 makes it one of the oldest stone structures in Berkeley County. The 360-acre property and house were purchased in 1789 by General Adam Stephen, founder of Martinsburg. In 1857, the property was purchased by James VanMetre, who is buried on the grounds.

In the basement can be seen the original kitchen fireplace with its hanging bracket. The living room contains its original mantel with interesting elements; the former front door, now an entry into the sun room, retains its transom with diamond-shaped muntin pattern. A number of outbuildings of historical significance also remain.

Shown by Norborne Garden Club.

6. CALEDONIA

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This gracious brick home's original four room -- two down and two up -- were constructed in 1795. Many original elements of this part of the house remain. Caledonia has had several additions in the following two centuries. The most recent addition is of antique limestone.

Added interest lies outside the house itself. The current owners have added an extensive patio and sunken garden. The patio overlooks a spring-fed lake that is the source of Evitts Run. This was also the site of the Civil War Battle of Cameron's Depot. Visitors are invited to wander the grounds of this working farm and visit the old barn and its display of antique tools.

Shown by Windflower and Wizard Clip Garden Clubs.

7. OLD WHITE HOUSE INN

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The Inn was built by the Federal government in 1837 and was designated Armory House #135. The deed of sale to the first civilian owners was signed by Jefferson Davis. Its name comes from 1920s owners who operated the property as the White House Inn and Dining Room.

The house is an excellent example of Victorian architecture. A wide rocking chair porch welcomes visitors to its 14 rooms, many of which reflect the current owner's interest in US Presidents. The Lincoln State Dining Room has a working fireplace, as does the West sitting room. The house retains the original mantles, woodwork, doors and hardware. A "two-holer" outhouse used by the Army soldiers is still on the property.

Harpers Ferry Women's Club. Refreshments will be served.