Strachan-Harrison House 501 High Street
This property has been meticulously researched and cared for by its current owner. Recently approved in the preliminary process by the Virginia Department of Historic Places for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the entire set of buildings exudes a feeling of times gone by.
Backstory and Context
Halcott Pride had the home built in 1762 in the 18th Century Tidewater Colonial Virginia vernacular style. One of the subsequent owners, Scottish immigrant Alexander Strachan, physician in the American Revolution, served as a vestry man of the old Blandford Church. Once the city of Petersburg was incorporated in 1784, he was made one of the first alderman. The Strachan family maintained possession until 1860 when it was sold to the Harrisons. Grace Episcopal Church built on the land between the house and High Street, and took possession in 1936 with the intended purpose as a parish house. Though the church was torn down in 1956, the stone wall remains present in the front yard. The 5-bay framed clapboard façade conceals a one-room deep plan with a center hall and wings on either side (though added at separate time periods). Porches match in the front and rear. There is an unusual combination of gambrel and clipped-gable roof, comparable to the roof of the Moore House at Yorktown. The shingles rise to dormers and the rise is accomplished through wedge-shaped wooden flashing. The west wing is original to the structure while the east wing is circa 1820. Originally, the entire home was covered with wood. Dormers have pedimented gables and first-floor sashes are nine-over-nine. The construction of the home features corner posts in each room with 4” by 19” dimensions. Mortice and tenon joints are pegged. The one-and-a-half inch floor boards were foot adzed or cut back in thickness at the point of contact with the floor joist. Interior trim was secured prior to plastering. Much of the original work remains intact on the interior, including the separating doors, wainscoting, hardware, and heart pine floors. The exterior of the home has been restored and painted its original red color. Outbuildings include many recent additions that were kept as close to the period of the home as possible; a carriage House, gazebo, potting shed, barn, in-group swimming pool, cobblestone and Belgian block driveway.
Ballenger, D. (2018). Nation Register of Historic Places nomination Preliminary Information From fro Individual Properties: Strachan-Harrison house, Petersburg, Virginia. Virginia Department of Historic Places. No. 123-0024
City of Petersburg. (1979). National Register of Historic Places nomination: Petersburg Old Town Historic District, Petersburg, Virginia. Richmond, VA: Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission.
Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. (1974, July). Architectural-Historic Inventory Card. City of Petersburg Department of Planning and Economic Development.