History of Whitehall Manor

Whitehall Manor is located in Virginia on the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains on the western edge of Loudoun County, Virginia in the area originally known as Snicker’s Gap – the main pathway in the area to traverse over the Blue Ridge Mountain to the Shenandoah River and Valley beyond.  

Whitehall Manor was constructed during the Federal Period (circa 1787) on land that was part of 2,941 acres patented to George Carter in 1731 by his father Robert (King) Carter and then in 1768 to then to John Augustine Washington (George Washington’s brother). When William Woodford leased the land in 1787 it was owned by Henry Lee. Woodford’s widowed daughter-in-law married James Hill, and in 1864 the land was owned by a descendant, Washington Hill. George Washington is known to have traveled through Snicker’s Gap many times including when in the employ of Lord Fairfax as a surveyor and on trips to survey in the Shenandoah Valley.

 

Whitehall is a fine brick home that survived the Civil War "Battle of Snickersville" on October 22, 1862 which is said to have taken place across the rolling fields in front of the Manor House.

 

 

“On 29 October 1862, the Army of Northern Virginia began its return to “middle Virginia” to counter [Union] General McClellan’s crossing the Potomac into Loudoun County during the period 26-39 October. [Confederate General J.E.B.] Stuart began his engagement plan by leading Major General FitzLee’s horsemen and six of Captain John Pelham’s guns through the Blue Ridge via Snickers Gap. The initial clash occurred on the last day of October, and the antagonists maintained violent contact for the next week. Most of the fighting took place in the wedge of land between the Snickersville and Ashby’s Gap Turnpikes in and around Union (now Unison). The Confederates got off to a ‘rousing start’ on the morning of the thirty-first as Stuart with the 3rd and 9th Virginia ranged east from Snickersville along the Turnpike to Mountville, surprising a 100-man detachment of the 1st Rhode Island Cavalry and capturing many."

--- Henry G. Plaster, “Snickersville During the Civil War,” p. 7

 

In 1864, area barns and crops were burned to end the assistance of Mosby’s Rangers. The main house was taken by fire but the structure remained. An additional layer of brick was added and the interior woodwork was reconstructed in the style of the day.

 

Circa 1890, the later part of the Nineteenth Century brought about many changes to the home. The Classical Revival Ballroom was built in order to entertain prominent guests, along with such amenities as a Coach Landing, Italian Marble Fireplaces, Running Water inside the Manor, Gas Lighting and Streetlights from the Manor House to the town.

 

 

It was in 1900 that the Southern Railroad (later called the Washington & Old Dominion – the modern day Bike Trail that extends from Alexandria to Purcellville) extended the railway line to the terminus in Bluemont Station. In order to attract more visitors to the area, in 1900 the town was renamed “Bluemont” after the W & OD Train Station. This scenic landscape was a resort community for “City Folk” from Alexandria and Washington that ventured out of the city onboard the Railway. The natural breezes that whisper through Williams Gap & Snickers Gap in the mountains made this a very popular destination in the summer months. The local town had a drug store, an ice cream parlor, a movie house, a dance hall with orchestras from Washington, and the Blue Ridge Inn above the town.

 

 

Throughout the 20th Century, Whitehall Farm was one of the largest dairy farms in this part of the State. From 1919 to 1956, the farm was owned by the McComb family and they had some of the best registered Holstein cattle in the state. From 1956 until 1992, Whitehall was the home of James and Zora Brownell who raised a family of four boys and one girl on the dairy farm and were well known throughout the area.

 

 

The dairy farm operations ended with the Brownell’s in 1992 and Whitehall Manor was founded as a Country Inn to host receptions, private parties, weddings and events. In 2005 “The Great Hall” was added to host up to 250 guests in a temperature controlled room with amazing views of the Blue Ridge, ample restrooms and a restaurant kitchen attached to provide fine hospitality to the guests. Today the tradition continues as one of the regions finest wedding and reception locations.