Grayson-Gravely House | Montgomery County, VA | c. 1860s; 1890s
This unique home overlooks the Little River in Radford, VA and while its history is interesting, its fanciful details make this home truly remarkable. But it didn’t always look like this as it was moved and added onto after time. And today, this National Register Home is in need of another restoration, so if you happen to be in the market for an old home to restore, here is one to consider!
The Grayson Family Founds A Milling Community
In 1811, William Grayson acquired a tract of land on this location, and over the following decades, he and his sons established mills overlooking the Little River in Montgomery County, VA. Originally called Grayson Mills, the community eventually came to be called Graysontown. The first of their mills opened for business in 1847 and shortly after, the family began to build proper houses for themselves, with wood milled at their own facilities. In 1859, they added a blacksmith forge to their operation and the next year, their mills were producing $1,500 in goods- the most in the county that year.
The John Grayson House
The earliest of these houses (that still stands) is known as the Grayson House and is thought to have been built in the 1850s. An I-house, a two-story, gable-roofed dwelling with a center passage and end chimneys. Here, the otherwise plain form acquired a stateliness through the use of a two-level pedimented portico. Including its rear ell, the house has a total of ten rooms. The home is privately owned and immaculately maintained with the original wainscot, mantels, and flooring.
The Grayson-Gravely House
Ephraim Crockett (E.C. ‘Crockett’) Grayson
This next Grayson Family home is believed to have been built by Ephraim Crockett (E.C. ‘Crockett’) Grayson in the 1860s, although it looked much different back then. At the heart of the fanciful design that exists today is essentially the same design as the earlier John Grayson Home, pictured above. Also manufactured by wood from their mill, the Grayson Family built these simple but impressive homes. It would be the next family who had the vision to expand this home into one of the most remarkable in the region.
Mary Hedrick and Joseph H. H. Gravely
In 1888, D.H. Grayson deeded the house and property to Joseph Henry Harrison Gravely. Joseph Gravely had fought in Virginia’s 49th infantry and was wounded at Chancellorsville. When Gravely purchased this home, he and his third wife, Mary Hedrick Gravely, were expecting their first child, Mabel, who was born in 1889.
Same House, New Location
Around 1891, Joseph Gravely had the house moved down the hill from its original location, although it’s not clear why. According to local stories, it was at this point that Mrs. Gravely encouraged her husband to add the decorative elements and additions to the home.
The room on the north of the house and the second-floor porch room were added during this period, as well as a three-story tower. John passed away here from pneumonia in 1920 and Mary followed him in 1931.
In 1956, the house was sold to Edward Mullins and according to property records, some updates were made in 1960, as well as the addition of a detached office structure in 1970.
The Grayson-Gravely House is For Sale
This one-of-a-kind house is currently for sale, but the work needed to restore it will be extensive and costly. The final product, overlooking a picturesque river, would be remarkable for the preservation-minded right person. So if you have the interest and means to bring a building like this back to life, keep reading…
The foundation of the home will need immediate attention, perhaps due to the building having been relocated. The interior was gutted in 2014 and most of the original windows have been replaced or removed. The property features a small detached structure that was once used as an artists’ studio that could be used as a temporary living space while work is completed on the house, or as a guest house.
“Historical home known by local architects as the most elaborately detailed embellishment of gingerbread architecture and design in the county. This house is ready for you if your desire is to complete a restoration…Even during your renovation, you will enjoy taking a break on the front porch overlooking the Little River that has public access within 60′ of the property. This property also features a former art studio that would make a great guest house.”
If you’re interested in learning more about this house, please contact the realtor, Edward Dale Gallimore/United Country Blue Ridge Land & Auction, (540) 382-0271.
- MLS#: 890522
- 5335 Old Pagelyn Rd, Radford, VA 24141
- 3 Bedroom, 2 Bath
- 2,400 square feet
- 1 acre