Set back from the street among mature hemlock, maple and black walnut trees, the two-story home, built when the town was Lewisburg, Virginia, harkens back to a day when the locals enjoyed sitting on their verandas, chatting with neighbors and watching the world go by in horse-drawn carriages. The elevated porch has a beadboard ceiling, spans the full width of the house and is 14 feet deep. The decorative arched entry and windows in the earlier portion of the house contain their original 19th Century glass.
The entry opens into a home typical of its day, with 10-foot ceilings and a central staircase flanked by rooms on each side, with 2 original second floor rooms. A wood-burning fireplace heated each space, including rooms that were added soon after the original construction, so there are four chimneys and eight fireplaces. All the fireplaces have been sealed but could be reopened.
The living room, like each of the 1834 rooms, has plaster walls, crown molding, a chair rail and wide baseboards. The living room fireplace is enhanced by a tall, decorative mantel by Greenbrier Valley craftsman Conrad Burgess (1806-1850). There are three large windows, two of which overlook the front porch and Washington Street.
The dining room has features similar to the living room, including another attractive Burgess mantel, and is enhanced by a crystal chandelier and grasscloth wallpaper. It opens into a cozy den with built-in bookcases, painted faux-finish walls, and a wrought-iron candle chandelier.
Kitchens were separate from homes in the early 19th Century. The kitchen that is now part of the house is connected by a central space that also opens into a laundry room, a half-bath with a pedestal sink, and the den. This connecting area also contains a wet bar and a pantry with built-in shelves.
The kitchen features granite counters, a corner stainless steel sink, a hand-stenciled floor, and a fireplace with a woodstove. A Kenmore refrigerator-freezer, Kenmore electric range and Kitchen Aid dishwasher convey with the property. The kitchen exits to a covered brick porch, a stone patio and the back yard.
The second floor has 3 bedrooms, with the possibility of a fourth, a full bath with a tub-shower, and an office. The master bedroom has a fireplace, the same crown molding, chair rail and baseboard appointments as downstairs, and floral wallpaper. Random width pine heart flooring adds character, and four windows overlook the front and back yards.
The spacious second bedroom has a painted floor, a ceiling fan, a fireplace, and three windows overlooking the front yard and Washington Street. The third bedroom is smaller, but also has a fireplace and can connect to bedroom 2. A fourth room overlooking the back yard could also be used as a bedroom.
A balcony on the second floor has the same footprint as the large front porch below it, and offers a commanding view of Washington Street.
The property includes two small log cabins in the back yard that possibly predate the house itself. Their history is unknown, but they are both in good enough shape to renovate and repurpose. There is a detached single car carriage house-style garage.
Three generations of the Sydenstricker family have occupied the home in more recent times. The family dates back to the early days of Lewisburg, and are relatives of Nobel Prize winning author Pearl S. Buck, who was born in nearby Hillsboro. Spottswood has been featured in historical homes tours, and in Country Living Magazine in 1988.
Historic Lewisburg is known as an arts community, and has year-round musical performances at Carnegie Hall, live theatre at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, and a busy calendar of community festivals and events. Downtown Lewisburg offers antique stores, boutiques, fine dining, two bakeries and several interesting watering holes, including an authentic Irish pub. The town is home to the 800-student West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, and New River Community and Technical College.
The West Virginia State Fair takes place in nearby Fairlea, Snowshoe Ski resort is a scenic 1½-hour drive to the north, and the world-famous Greenbrier resort is only 10 minutes away in White Sulphur Springs.
Spottswood is an architecturally significant piece of local history in a charming town. It offers a glimpse into Greenbrier County’s past, and a comfortable place to call home for the future.