Historic Structures

Thomas Shepherd's Grist Mill, Shepherdstown West Virginia

The original mill on this site was erected by Thomas Shepherd sometime between 1734 and 1739 and was probably the first of its kind in the Valley of Virginia. A native of western Maryland, Shepherd settled in the area in 1732, when it was still a wilderness. In 1734 he received a grant of 222 acres of land from Virginia's Governor William Gooch. From that time until his death in 1776, Shepherd's career was intimately linked to the development of Jefferson County and to the patterns of settlement of the Shenandoah Valley as a whole. The date of the first settlement at what is now Shepherdstown has never been adequately established, but the records of the Philadelphia Presbyterian Synod reveal a letter of 1719 requesting that a minister be sent to Potomack, in Virginia. This reference, together with the fact that the site of Shepherdstown was near a natural ford in the Potomac River, leads us to believe that the settlers from Pennsylvania and Maryland entered the Valley of Virginia here sometime during the period 1715-1720. These settlements were tenuous at best, and it is likely that many pioneers continued to live in more populated areas north of the river, traveling once or twice a year to work on their homesteads. In 1722, settlement began in earnest when Governor Spotswood of Virginia succeeded in negotiating a treaty with, the Iroquois Indians. At first, settlement was hindered by the conflicting claims of promoters for priority of grants. Lord Fairfax, in particular, trying to extend the intent of the Northern Neck grant to the region west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, created much confusion among early settlers as to what was and what was not available land. The litigation of the suit filed by Fairfax's agents in 1736 took over 50 years and was finally settled in 1786, after the principals had long been dead. In spite of legal problems, settlement proceeded rather rapidly after the treaty of 1722. The difficulty of communication between the Tidewater and the Trans-Allegheny settlements made a person's physical presence the major condition of ownership. In fact, the presence of the settlers alone gave the land what value it had. Even Fairfax recognized this, and in 1738 he granted some settlers titles to their holdings after they threatened to abandon their farms and move west.


Menokin - Francis Lightfoot Lee House Ruins, Warsaw Virginia

Menokin was the home, from 1769 to 1797, of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence for Virginia, planter, and politician. Francis Lightfoot Lee, the son of a wealthy planter, was born at the Lee family seat, Stratford, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on October 14th, 1734. He did not attend college but received an excellent education at the hands of tutors. Leaving Stratford in early life, he settled on Coton in Loudoun County in the House of Burgesses from 1758 to 1769. In the spring of 1769 he married Rebecca Tayloe, the 17 year old daughter of John Tayloe of Mount Airy, Richmond County Virginia. Lee lived at Mount Airy with his bridge until his father-in-law completed Menokin, which he built for them on a nearby plantation. Lee was almost immediately elected as a burgess for Richmond County and served in that capacity from 1769 to 1776. He was a delegate to the Continental Congresses from 1775 to June 1779. On his return to Virginia he sat for a time in the Virginia senate and then retired from public life. he died at Menokin on January 11th, 1797, only a few months after the death of his wife. They were both buried in the Tayloe family cemetery adjacent to the Mount Airy plantation house. The Lees had no children and Menokin then passed to his nephew, Ludwell Lee.


Stratford Hall Mansion, Stratford Virginia

Thomas Lee (l690-175l), for whom Stratford Hall was built, was a grandson of Richard Lee of Stratford-Langton, Essex, England, who came to Virginia and settled first in Gloucester County in 1644. As local Magistrate, member and President of the Governor's Council, and later acting Governor of the Colony, Thomas Lee, exerted considerable influence in the Virginia colony. He was married to Hannah Ludwell of Green Spring, and of his six sons, Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794) and Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797) were both signers of the Declaration of Independence. Philip Ludwell Lee, who inherited Stratford Hall from his father in 1751 and who died in 1775 was a member of the House of Burgesses and a secretary of the Governor's Council. Stratford was acquired by his son General Henry (Lighthorse Harry) Lee (1756-1818) whose own son, Robert E. Lee, was born in the House in 1807. Major Henry Lee, who inherited Stratford in 1818, sold it in 1822. The property was acquired by the Henry D. Storkes in 1828. Mrs. Storke, a sister-in-law of Major Henry Lee, bequeathed the property to her husband's nephew, Dr. Richard H. Stuart. His son, Charles Edward Stuart sold Stratford Hall to the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Inc. Nine-bay, two-story Stratford Hall, a fine example of an early eighteenth century planation mansion, is outstanding for its H-plan and its two clusters of massive chimneys. The second, main floor, or piano nobile contains the great hall and other formal rooms. Overall dimensions are 92'6 x 62'8.


Hegeler Carus Mansion, La Salle Illinois

The Hegeler-Carus Mansion, constructed in 1874-76, is a seven level Second Empire style residence in La Salle, Illinois, approximately six blocks north of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, a National Heritage Corridor and National Historic Landmark district. Designed by noted Chicago architect W. W. Boyington for Edward and Camilla Hegeler, the fifty-seven-room mansion is located on three acres. Occupied by Hegeler descendants from its construction in 1876 until 2004, the mansion exhibits an exceptional degree of interior and exterior integrity. Original wall finishes, stenciling, fixtures, and furnishings are intact. The ground floor featured the office spaces, presses, and typeset of the nationally renowned Open Court Publishing Company, which was established by Hegeler and continued by his son-in-law Paul Carus. The company was based in the house from 1887 to 1936. The Hegeler-Carus mansion, designed by noted architect William W. Boyington, was built to occupy all of Block 29 in the original town of La Salle, Illinois, with its house, outbuildings, landscape features, and grounds. The mansion sits just south of what was the largest zinc-producing company of its day, the Matthiessen & Hegeler Zinc Company. A winding drive circled from Union Street (now vacated) to the east, then to the main entrance and extended completely around the mansion. The three-acre site of the Mansion and its original landscaping provided a park-like environment. There were flower gardens and trellises, which provided avenues for the trailing vines that extended from the ground to the upper floors of the house. A horseshoe staircase located on the east side of the house, has a large rock garden located in its center. This rock garden serves as a focal point for the main facade. A small bird-shaped reflecting pond is located southwest of the house near Seventh Street. A tennis court (now demolished) was located directly west of the house. A gazebo was located in the southwest corner of the lot but has since collapsed; the stone foundation remains. A trolley was brought in for the Carus children to use as a playhouse, and was located on the northeast section of the grounds. There was a conservatory on the northwest section of the grounds, just west of the garage. The conservatory was designed by Chicago architect William LeBaron Jenney. It deteriorated and collapsed many years ago but long range restoration plans are to reconstruct it.


Nooksack Falls Hydroelectric Plant, Glacier Washington

The Nooksack Falls powerhouse, containing a relatively small generating capacity of 1,500 kilowatts, is, nevertheless, one of the oldest operating hydroelectric facilities in the state of Washington. Completed in 1906 and designed to serve the electrical needs of Whatcom County, it provides power for the nearby small town of Glacier and its sparsely populated environs. Despite some modifications through the years, most notably the replacement of the original Francis turbine with a Pelton impulse wheel in 1910, and the replacement of the penstocks and relocation of the diversion dam in 1931, the plant and machinery remained largely unchanged until a fire in 1997 destroyed the generator. It was replaced in 2003 and the plant resumed operation. In the Eastern states, the typical hydroelectric plant at the turn of the century was low head, that is, the water dropped only a short distance from the forebay to the turbines, and high volume (meaning a large quantity of water was available.) Electricity generated by Eastern hydroelectric plants was typically transmitted over relatively short distances. The hydroelectric technology developed for conditions in the East, however, was often inadequate when applied to the West. In a region characterized by high elevations, low quantities of water, and long transmission distances, engineers had to modify existing technology, and sometimes invent new technologies, to meet the Western challenge. Their success in finding solutions to such problems is embodied in the Nooksack plant, a typical high-head hydroelectric facility of the early 1900s.

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