The June Tolliver House is located in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. Built in 1890, the house has a connected history with John Fox, Jr.’s The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. The June Tolliver House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is now open as a museum dedicated to the history of the Big Stone Gap area.
The house was built by Big Stone Gap resident Jerome Hill
Duff, who moved to the area with his family in 1881. Duff ran The Central Hotel,
the town’s first hotel, across the street from his residence. A fire destroyed
the hotel, but the Duff family often opened their home for paying guests to
stay. The house is a typical Queen Anne style home commonly found in southwestern
Virginia towns during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The house gained recognition as housing June Morris during
the winter of 1893. Morris was a little girl from the hills who came to Big
Stone Gap for school. Many believe June Morris was the model for John Fox, Jr.’s
June Tolliver, the heroine of his novel, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. This
novel is deemed to be a classic of Appalachian literature, and is about the
effect the discovery of coal in the Appalachian Mountains had on those who
lived in the region. The book was first published in 1908 and was one of the
first bestsellers of the twentieth century. It is also one of Fox’s two best-selling
Today the Duff residence is known as the June Tolliver House
& Folk Art Center and is open as a museum dedicated to John Fox, Jr. and to
the history of the Big Stone Gap area. The novel is also reenacted today at the
June Tolliver Outdoor Playhouse located next to the museum. The Trail of the
Lonesome Pine is the longest continually running outdoor drama in Virginia. The
home Jerome Duff built in 1890 is dedicated to preserving and sharing the
history and culture of the mountains of southwestern Virginia today.