From time to time, a truly iconic property, full of history and aura comes to the market, and our Llangollen estate is a case in point.
Located just outside the quaint village of Upperville, Virginia, Llangollen sits on 1,100 acres of beautiful countryside, in conservation easement, and dates to 1795 when the original patent house was built, in order to abide by the terms of the formal prescription of the lease to the first grantee which required that a dwelling be constructed.
Upperville was the scene of an American Civil War battle which preceded Gettysburg, and the fields surrounding Llangollen saw plenty of action. Locally infamous John Singleton Mosby, romantically referred to as the Gray Ghost, is purported to have spent time at Llangollen, meeting in the downstairs pub seen below.
The thousands of acres on and around Llangollen were originally surveyed by a young man by the name of George Washington, better known forever as the founding father and first President of the United States of America.
Guests at the property during the nineteenth century included the Marquis De Lafayette who made it his base on the east coast during his grand tour of the United States, as well as our third President, and drafter of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, whose Monticello has been studied by the present owners of Llangollen in order to properly decorate this fabulous house.
The Civil War years and the reconstruction period immediately thereafter were not kind to southern estates like Llangollen, which had previously relied on the abhorrent practice of using the enslaved to farm the land and produce its crops. Decades passed before subsequent stewards took ownership, and began its slow rehabilitation. But it was not until 1930, when John Hay 'Jock' Whitney, publisher of the New York Herald Tribune, President of the Museum of Modern Art and, later, US Ambassador to the United Kingdom purchased Llangollen as a wedding present for his fiancée, Elizabeth Altemus and restored and significantly expanded the beautiful property, creating a new southern wing off the manor house, and building the impressive and quite unique horseshoe barn pictured below.
Whitney and his wife divorced after ten years of marriage, during which time they developed a formidable racehorse breeding operation, and introduced polo to the property, a sport which Jock excelled at, and which remains to this day, by way of a world class facility with three polo fields and an arena.
Liz Whitney remained at Llangollen until her death in 1988, marrying several more times and in 1989 the property was acquired by businessman and former Nixon Whitehouse official, Roy L. Ash, who founded Litton Industries and was the 21st Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and his wife Lila. The Ash's took on the huge task of restoring Llangollen to its original glory and extending the house on both ends, creating a modern kitchen off the original patent house to the north and the library/guest room wing to the south.
Llangollen is ready now for its next’s 'custodians', and represents an exciting opportunity to own a rare piece of history and real estate, just an hour from Washington Dulles International Airport, and DC just beyond.
Just 90 minutes drive west of the nation’s capital, within the shadow of Massanutten Mountain in the George Washington National Forest sits the historic Abraham Beydler House [pron bye-dler], built circa 1790, and on the National Register of Historic Places. The original manor house is of the Federal architectural style, constructed of stone and brick made on the property, incorporating foundations built from stacked fieldstones of limestone and slate.
The manor house, and related structures, have become known as Valhalla Farm, consisting of the original house plus ‘ell’addition dating to the mid 1800’s, a smokehouse and artists studio . The interior of the main house retains original horsehair plaster walls, while the floors are heart-of-pine planks with sawdust caulking between the planks. All of the doors are of six-panel design, consisting of two-inch thick planks, with many of the doors still with their original hardware. A boxed staircase connects the first-floor dining room with the upstairs.
The parlor includes a number of important ornamental features including cupboards with carvings reputedly crafted by Hessian soldiers who had remained in Virginia following the Revolutionary War.
Further rooms include four bedrooms; a formal dining room; an entry hall/library; an additional summer kitchen in the smokehouse; an enclosed porch; a sleeping porch; three basement rooms including an original egg room which retains wall markings depicting egg count.
The property lies on 9.3 acres with open fields stretching south from the house to the banks of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. There is an in-ground pool with fencing.
Valhalla Farm represents a wonderful opportunity to acquire an historic manor house, with copious fascinating features in an area of great beauty and tranquility - a tranquil yet easy to reach getaway from city life.
Peter writes for his local magazine, Country Zest & Style, as its Wine Editor. He also enjoys writing blogs on interesting and pertinent real estate matters, so please follow!