Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Ashby’s Gap in northwestern Fauquier County lies one of a kind “Liberty Hall.” Sitting just below the quaint village of Paris, this 20 acre farm is located just 5 miles west of Upperville; 11 miles west of Middleburg; and 35 miles west of Dulles International Airport. It’s proximity to both Interstate 66 and Route 50 makes this property an ideal commuter location for Winchester, and all of Northern Virginia.
Location: “Liberty Hall” is embraced by rolling agricultural, forested and state park lands, making it a unique sanctuary. It remains completely preserved by open space easements which encircle its borders which include Ovoka Farm on the north and west, Sky Meadows State Park on the south, and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation to the east. Also, “Liberty Hall” mutually enjoys the proud distinction with its neighbors who celebrate their properties’ historic bucolic contribution to the National Register of the Crooked Run Valley Historic District.
Historical Background: This property evolved from a 1768 land patent of 630 acres to Thomas Middleton from the late George Carter’s grant of 3,312 acres. Architectural evidence confirms that the one half stone section of the house was built circa 1770 by the Middleton family. Five years later in 1775, under the ownership of Kimble Hicks, the house was enlarged with another attached two and one half story stone addition which is clearly evidenced by a vertical line in the mortar between the stones on the south side of the house. (See arrow in photo upper left.)
County records indicate that the residence provided room and board for soldiers during the American Revolution. It is believed that owners of the farm began calling it “Liberty” during the War of Independence. While information has not surfaced about the specific events at “Liberty Hall” during the Civil War, reports from neighboring farms indicate that it likely suffered the same losses from the theft of livestock, family silver and other valuables, ransacked cupboards, and burned crops and outbuildings.
Residence: Ideal for the antique house lover, this historic home has undergone three years of meticulous exterior renovation and now awaits the next owner’s precise interior finishes. The house belonged to the Thomas family for over half a century as part of their larger neighboring Ovoka Farm. In 2001, Ovoka was sold and “Liberty Hall” became its own separate 20 acre farm. The current owner felt a family obligation to recover and reconstruct the house. He started with the two earlier stone sections containing four original rooms and then moved on to the pre-Civil War constructed stucco over frame two-story addition which was joined to the west end of the house. There was also another one story frame addition which had been added later to the back of the house.
The two frame additions were demolished allowing the painstaking removal of all the stucco from the original stone sections of the house. Meticulous exterior renovations included the re-pointing of all the stone work, the removal of the old metal roof, the replacement of all the windows with Thermopane ones, and the complete restoration of the architectural integrity of the foundation of the house. In this lengthy renovation a new basement was dug and an all new metal roof was installed. Two new large stucco additions were added in the same areas of the past additions –both with stone fireplaces and one with an attached, large covered porch. In addition, the electric to the house was buried underground, a new 230 foot class III B well was dug, and a four bedroom gravity septic field was installed.
First Floor: The First Floor features a graceful Entrance Hall (18’ x 9’) into the oldest section of the house which includes the staircase up to the second floor. Architectural analysis shows that the cut nails and saw marks in the stair framing to the second floor indicate their alteration in the late 19th century, as does the heaviness of the wooden newel post. However, the stairway features a rarely-seen carved stair design (see above). This Entrance Hall opens to the left into the formal Living Room (18’ x 14’) with an original 18th century corner fireplace and three deep set windows. Straight ahead from the Entrance Hall is a doorway leading into the newly designed Pantry area (15’ x 9’) with a proposed wet bar and china storage.
Off the Pantry area is the new, one story stucco addition allocated for a Library (16’ x 28’) with a wood burning fireplace (see back page). Through the Living Room is the formal Dining Room (14’ x 14’) with another unique corner fireplace (see left). Because of the shallow depth of the three original fireplaces in the house, they have been all been restored to accommodate gas fire baskets, rather than wood. Through the Dining Room is the doorway into the expansive Family Room/Kitchen (25’ x 27’) with a woodburning fireplace, a wall of windows, and French doors on to the large covered porch (see left). This porch stretches almost forty feet - the entire length the Northwestern side of the house, so as to enjoy the premier valley views, overlooking ponds and pasture land.
A new stairway leads down into the lower level Basement area with walkout stairs. Also off the Kitchen is a spacious Mudroom area with separate doors to a Powder Room and the Laundry Room. Through the Mudroom is a second service entrance that was designed at the back of the house. (See back page of this brochure).
Second Floor: Follow the staircase at the entrance hall up to the two Guest Bedrooms (both 14’ x 11’) which share a new, large Full Bath. Follow the hallway around to a private Master Suite with Sitting Room (14’ x 14’) with an original corner fireplace. Through the Sitting Room is the Master Bedroom Suite (24’ x 17’) with access to his and her Full Baths and a large walk-in closet. From the five windows one can enjoy the expansive valley views.
Third Floor/Attic: An original stairwell from the second floor leads up to the attic space. An architectural review of the rafters in the attic of the older sections of the house show watermill-sawn rafters with either wooden pegged or wrought nailed, half-lapped collar ties. This attic provides a rare opportunity to see both the pit saw and mill saw marks from the timber framing all fastened with wrought nails or cut nails. An old door frame still exists between the two stone sections featuring distinguishing historic detailing that include the remains of both an original leather strap and a wrought iron hinge. (See previous page).
Lower Level/walk-out Basement: A new stairwell designed from the Family Room/Kitchen addition leads down to the partially finished basement area (24’ x 37’) level. There are excellent storage spaces, a utility room and a potential room (15’ x 23’) for a Wine Cellar.
Landscaping: The house sits atop a rise at one end of the long, rolling farm allowing for over two-thirds of the property to be fenced for pasture. Mature hardwood trees surrounding the house include Walnut, Pear, Locust and Maple. The property is fully fenced and features stone walls and over thirty boxwoods ready for placement.
Outbuildings: There is a small frame detached Storage Shed/Garage just off the back of the house. And in the pasture below the house there is one run-in shed and an old Spring House.
The property is under perpetual open space easement affording it land use valuation for real estate tax purposes.
PLEASE NOTE: All descriptions of various rooms of the interior of this house are yet to be constructed. The important factor regarding the interior, is that while it is yet to be designed, it allows for the Heating and Cooling designs to fit the new owner. Insulation, placement of electrical outlets, clock hangers to light artwork, plumbing routes and fixtures, can all be tailored to suit the new owner’s needs and style. Please ask to see Floor Plans.
All historical background and architectural data provided by local Architectural Historian Cheryl Hanback Shepherd.