Mansion on Main

Mansion on Main

Mansion on Main

Yesterday we official visited one of the historic homes on the “Year of the Virginia Historical Homes” tour. We have seen many that are on the list, but this is the first one that we will get to count on our “Master Traveler Passport”. To see this home, your tour starts at the antique store just behind the house. The mansion’s owner, Betty Clark, owns this wonderful store called “Mansion House Art and Antiques”.

http://www.mansionhouseartandantiques.com

As you enter this beautiful antique store, you are greeted by so many wonderful things. The “Official Greeter” Chloe, stands guard and greets those who stop by.

ChloeMansion House Art and Antiques

Chloe
Mansion House Art and Antiques

Chloe The Official Greeter

Chloe
The Official Greeter

In every corner of this store are treasures of days go by. Lovingly displayed, it is hard not to purchase each item. Two antique cars, silver and beautiful paintings are at every turn. The delicate china is laid out on the table in wait for guest to arrive.

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One phone call later, we were sent to the back door of the Mansion through the back garden. Poor Brett had to stop almost every two steps as I took pictures of garden and outdoor sitting areas. We were greeted by Dawn, the innkeeper. She was wonderful and provided us with lots of history of the home.

Back Garden of the Mansion on Main

Back Garden of the Mansion on Main

Outside Sitting Area at the Mansion on Main

Outside Sitting Area at the Mansion on Main

Backdoor of Mansion on Main

Backdoor of Mansion on Main

This beautiful Queen Ann style Victorian is located in downtown Smithfield, Virginia. This home, nicknamed the “Mansion on Main” is the showplace home of Richard Samuel Thomas (1837-1915). The urban home was built in 1889 and changed the face of Smithfield  from Victorian cottage and federal style homes to the “trend-setting” urban architecture with Queen Anne and Art Nouveau influences.

Mansion on Main

Mansion on Main

Mansion on Main Details

Mansion on Main Details

The home stand proudly on the corner edge of the original colonial roads and is at the top of Wharf Hill, a thriving port on the Pagan River. Attorney and town historian Richard S. Thomas made the showpiece his home and business office.

Marriage Certificate of Richard and Frances Thomas

Marriage Certificate of Richard and Frances Thomas

Richard S. Thomas and his wife Frances Boykin Jordan Thomas were connected to several other Smithfield historic properties and their preservation. The Thomas brothers dedicated stain glass windows at St. Luke Church in honor of two ancestors who were “vestrymen” (lay leaders) in the 1750s. One of the vestrymen was Jordan Thomas. He was not only Richard S. Thomas’s ancestor but also the county surveyor who mapped out Smithfield’s first streets.

St Lukes ChurchSmithfield

St Lukes Church
Smithfield

In 1873, the elder brother of Richard S. Thomas purchase the 1750 Courthouse, which was the first building erected in the new Town of Smithfield.

1750 Courthouse

1750 Courthouse

An older Thomas brother converted the colonial plantation called “The Grove” into a boarding house. The elder brother of Richard S. Thomas inherited Four Square Plantation, which was started in 1693.

Four Square Plantation

Four Square Plantation

Due to the endless efforts of Richard S. Thomas to preserve the historical sites of Smithfield, the Virginia Historical Society bestowed on him the title of “a Virginian of Virginians”. Their remarks were “Only a sketch, en silhouette, can we give of another devoted friend of this Society, Richard S. Thomas of Smithfield, whose most salient characteristic, if we may term it so, was his devotion to Virginia… Steeped in Colonial lore, a first-and student of Virginia records, he was an enthusiastic member of this Society, and published several valuable monographs, which brought him no small reputation among scholars… We, who knew him long and well, entertain no misgivings that we yield him the tribute that he himself would have most prized when we say simply that he lived and died “a Virginian of Virginians.” [“Proceedings of the Virginia Historical Society at its Annual Meeting held in the House of the Society on February 25, 1915,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 23, xxxi – xxxiii]

The Mansion was a private residence for many years. In the late 1995, Sala Clark purchased this historical home and started restoring it with the idea of opening a bed and breakfast. On hearing the nickname, she christened it the “Mansion on the Main” Bed and Breakfast.  Sadly Sala Clark would pass away in 1998. Although Sala Clark did not live to see the restoration completed, her vision and efforts resurrected a place that offers the romantic beauty of a bygone era. Her mother, Betty Clark continues to oversee the property as a bed and breakfast in memory of Sala.

Mansion on Main Bed and Breakfast

Mansion on Main Bed and Breakfast

http://www.mansion-on-main.net

The Mansion was the first house in the Historic District to return to authentic “Painted Lady” splendor. The museum-like interior retains original marble finish fireplaces and heart pine floors and is resplendent with furnishings dating from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Extensive intricate hand carved woodwork crafted by European artisans is exhibited in plaster crown moldings and medallions, a grand staircase, pocket doors, and wainscot. Today, the mansion features museum-quality antiques and Victorian to Edwardian period furnishings.

Main Hallway

Main Hallway

Plaster Crown Molding

Plaster Crown Molding

Craved Door Detail

Craved Door Detail

Front Door

Front Door

Front Hall Ceiling Medallion

Front Hall Ceiling Medallion

Front Hallway Staircase

Front Hallway Staircase

Front Parlor

Front Parlor

Front Parlor Details

Front Parlor Details

Front Parlor Details

Front Parlor Details

Front Parlor Ceiling Medallion

Front Parlor Ceiling Medallion

Front Parlor

Front Parlor

Front Parlor Fireplace

Front Parlor Fireplace

Front Parlor

Front Parlor

Doorway from Back Parlor to Main Hallway

Doorway from Back Parlor to Main Hallway

Front Parlor

Front Parlor

Wallpaper Detail in Back Parlor

Wallpaper Detail in Back Parlor

Jeffersonian windows in the Dining Room.These are the windows that you can open up and it becomes a doorway.

Jeffersonian Windows in the Dining Room.
These are the windows that you can open up and it becomes a doorway.

Dining Room Chandelier and Ceiling Medallion

Dining Room Chandelier and Ceiling Medallion

Doorway Stain Glass

Doorway Stain Glass

Gingerbread House of Mansion on Main

Gingerbread House of Mansion on Main

Brett and Michelle visiting The Thomas House"Mansion on Main"

Brett and Michelle visiting The Thomas House
“Mansion on Main”

See more of our adventure pictures on our Facebook Page!

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58 thoughts on “Mansion on Main

  1. Oh, that’s just gorgeous!

  2. Amy says:

    Gorgeous masion. Thank you for the beautiful post!

  3. Lisa says:

    Wow that is fantabulous! I would love to see that in person! Soo elegant!

  4. tjsthings says:

    I LOVE Queen Anne Victorians! They are such scrumptious looking gingerbread houses :)

  5. This is a great post, and the information provided is wonderful!

    Taylor
    thesassycountess.blogspot.com

  6. John says:

    A beautiful home and piece of American history. Wonderful photography, well done!!

  7. Weren’t those old Victorian houses beautiful? I lived in an unrestored one in the Fan in Richmond and loved it! Thanks for the tour. Happy New Year.

  8. marydpierce says:

    I have nothing to add to what many others have advised. I, too, like simplicity, easy navigation and access to quality photos of the B&B and its rooms; prices; maybe a few food photos of typical breakfasts; maps to show location; a little info on what to see locally. Based on the quality of your blog, I’m betting that your website is going to be fabulous!

    And not for nothing, but your own photos are pretty darn good. You’ve got a great eye!

  9. msalis1 says:

    First, Chloe possesses an amazing face. Great ‘Customer Service Attitude.’ :-)

    Second, these pictures make me wish for some time to be back in your neck of the woods. I love the architecture, the paneling, the wood mouldings, and long to see in person what I dream in my mind of the old mansions previously visited.

    Thank you for the pictures. By the way, that gingerbread house is a work of art.

  10. Deb says:

    Love Chloe, love the store and OMG, the mansion! Do you think they would let me live there?

  11. talkavino says:

    So many great pictures – thanks for sharing!

  12. Dianna says:

    So glad you got to visit – sorry we weren’t in town. You know: I’ve never toured Mansion on Main! Thanks for showing “this local” around – so nice to see pictures of familiar scenery!

    • You are so welcome. I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it. I am still fighting this throat. But you know me, I love going places so I had to do at least one. I wanted to do so much more, but my husband pull me back so I could rest. Thank you!

  13. belocchio says:

    Another wonderful historic house. It was delightful meeting Chloe the store cat. There is something endearing about store cats. My cousin had an antique store in Calgary with a store cat called Walter. He was a bruiser. Loved to sit absolutely still then jump out and scare customers. My Good Husband I with you and all your family the very best for coming year. 2013 will be a wonderful new year with the opening of your important business venture. V.

  14. Yoshiko says:

    Quite surprised that they allow people to take photograph.
    Thank you for ling my poetry ‘Toddler & Koala’. :-)

  15. Gallivanta says:

    Great to see a house so lovingly restored.

  16. That is an impressive gingerbread house!

    I hope you have a wonderful new year!

  17. threadspider says:

    So enjoyed my first visit to Virginia, thank you. Now I am intrigued as an English woman to know what makes the house a Queen Ann Victorian?

  18. Aurora HSP says:

    Beautiful, thank you!
    I love Chloe! She has red hair like me, lol.
    Thanks for the pretty!
    Happy New Year :)

  19. terry1954 says:

    Wow, I enjoyed taking this tour with you!!!! Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!

  20. This is fabulous!!! Love that cat!!!

  21. hermitsdoor says:

    Victorian homes usually seem to be so full of stuff — sensory overload, in a good way!
    Oscar

  22. David says:

    A beautiful house. I like the wooden plank floors, especially that it still has its patina. To be met by Miss Chloe, however, must be the best part of the visit. :)

    Have a Happy New Year’s Day!

    • You know, Dawn pointed out that they chose not to refinish the floors to preserve that about them. They are beautiful. Yes, Miss Chloe was a sweet part of the visit! Thank you! Happy New Year from Belle Grove Plantation!

  23. shawncolbornphotography says:

    What an amazing place.

  24. Actually like did not even come close – wow I love that house oh to have lived there in its heyday! ;) The details are amazing.

  25. petit4chocolatier says:

    Gorgeous post and pictures. I love the architecture and all the details of Victorian homes. Happy New Year!

  26. alangent says:

    Wow! That’s SOME place, great photos and ONE COOL CAT!!

  27. Tracee says:

    Hello! I realize this is kind of off-topic however I needed to
    ask. Does managing a well-established blog like yours require a lot of work?
    I’m brand new to writing a blog but I do write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog
    so I can easily share my personal experience
    and views online. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

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