CHSV tour offers rare public viewing of Historic Adventure Hill

Pam and David Howell graciously opened their home, Historic Adventure Hill, for the 2009 Chester Garden Club Standard Flower Show and House Tour. Adventure Hill is one of two early houses in Chesterfield built on an original T-plan. With only a few updates made by a hand-full of owners, the 200-plus year-old home remains an original. Adventure Hill will be open for tours again along with several additional historic sites during Historic Winterpock Day , Saturday, April 12, sponsored by the Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia (CHSV).

CHSV is sponsoring this tour to raise monies for the preservation of Magnolia Grange House Museum. The tour will include homes, a school, churches and cemeteries in one of Chesterfield County’s oldest communities. Along with Adventure Hill, c 1847, Physic Hill, c 1815, a Federal period home built by a physician whose office was on the property will be open, as well as Magnolia Grange, c 1822; Clover Hill Plantation, c 1834; Buzzard’s Roost, c 1870; Beach Station, c 1890; Pleasant View School, c 1930; several churches and cemeteries; and Giff’s Store, c 1029.

The 17th century French Hugenot home, Adventure Hill, is situated on nearly 70 acres of its original 500 acres on Winterpock Road. The grounds are mature from their plantings by Watkins Nurseries in the 1920s which are graced with large Magnolias and formalized with boxwoods in the circular driveway and along garden paths from the main house. The grounds include a 100-year-old log cabin, the original smokehouse and a barn which includes a fireplace and tack room.

The home had been sitting vacant for 11 years before the Howell’s purchased it in 1997 and moving in during the Spring of 1999. Everything remains intact with only modernization of a new kitchen that filled the space of an original cover porch converted to a bedroom in the 50s, a sitting room that took the space of the opposing covered porch, and a bath made to fit in the existing space off the master bedroom. A second floor bath,  added in the 50s, was refurbished by the Howells with its original fixtures. Central Air was also part of the update in 1997.

The five original doors have all of their original hardware – two at the front, one for the women and one for the men of the house; one from the dining room that led to the cook house; and the two on opposing sides that led to the covered porches.

The 12- to 14-inch heart pine floors are a testament to its occupants over the years with the beauty of the wood brought to life by the Howells.

There are two stairways to the second floor, one used by the girls of the household and one in the rear for the boys; both are the original construction. An opening on the second floor was created from the original plan to join the two sides together of the “T.”

Pam Howell feels the house is haunted, which has been confirmed by her daughter who has actually seen the “little girl” and a woman they have named “Sara” in the room that was her bedroom. Howell says she never feels alone in her home, and has said that it is a good feeling.

To tour this historic gem along with several others on Winterpock Day, call CHSV at 796-7121 to purchase your ticket for $25 which will go toward  the $25,000 needed to preserve Magnolia Grange.


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