Dr. Flavius Brown House
The Dr. Flavius Brown House is an example of high style architecture in an area known for more modest homes. Most local residents were farmers, as agriculture was the primary industry in Summersville at the time of construction. The Summersville area was steadily growing during the construction period. Dr. Flavius Brown, for whom the house was built, was one of only two doctors in the town of Summersville.
Backstory and Context
The Dr. Flavius Brown House, also known as Brown Oaks, is located on a hill at the intersection of Old Wilderness Road and Arbuckle Road in the downtown district of Summersville. The home was built by Dr. Flavius H. Brown, Sr. in 1923. The two-story home displays beautiful Neoclassical Revival architecture. It was originally built on a 25 acre farm; today the property only includes 5.88 acres, consisting of the house and a two story carriage house garage that was built a few years later.
In the 1700s, the land where the Brown family property is located was granted by King George III to a colonial farmer named Mr. Hamilton. During the Civil War, General Rosecranz passed by the property while leading his troops to Carnifex Ferry. In the late 1800s a large, wooden Victorian-style home was built on the property.
In 1905 Flavius Brown married Elizabeth Huff. The couple lived in a community near Summersville called Craigsville. Dr. Brown was a man of many traits. He worked as a school teacher, a store keeper and even a deputy sheriff before he attended medical school. In 1911 he graduated and opened up his first medical practice in Craigsville. By 1922, Brown and his wife had six children. They moved to Summersville, where Dr. Brown practiced as only one of two doctors in the area.
Dr. Brown along with his family moved into the old Victorian house on Old Wilderness Road. They lived here until the Brown Oaks home was finished being built. The house was built with stone and bricks that came from the local area. Parts from the old Victorian house were used to build the carriage house garage. An old well house once stood beside the old house. Recently, a new beautiful covered well house was constructed in its place.
Dr. Brown and his wife had a total of nine children, who would all attend West Virginia University. Four of their children became doctors and three became dentists. Dr. Flavius Brown, Jr., their fourth son, bought the house in 1954. He and his wife would live there with their children until 1980.
The house and property were deeded to the City of Summersville in 1999. Since then, the city has restored the home and grounds. On June 22, 2002 the house was dedicated by the City of Summersville. On December 7, 2002 the house was placed on the National Register of Historical Places. The City of Summersville has made the house and lawn accessible to the public. On display are many items belonging to the Brown family. Both locals and out-of-town visitors enjoy Brown Oaks. It stands today as a reminder of the class, values, and determination of one of the founding families of Summersville.