Halifax, Virginia Historic District
Mountain Road Walking Tour
Adapted from the original hard copy publication created by the
Halifax County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee.
Comments and questions to Halifax Web WorX.
The houses listed on this tour are private residences and are not open to the public.
Click on each number for the photo and description.
Mountain Road Historic District.
Mountain Road, in the county seat of Halifax, has been highly regarded for its distinguished architecture and beautiful landscape since the early 20th century. Its unique qualities have now been recognized by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, which designated it a state historic district and the National Register of Historic Places.
Named for its location near White Oak Mountain, the road features several notable 19th century institutional buildings, including an early Masonic Hall (1828) and two handsome antebellum churches, St. Mark's Episcopal (1831), now the Halifax United Methodist Church and St. John's Episcopal Church (1844).
In January 1835 the former University of Virginia workman Dabney Cosby came to Halifax to build a new clerk's office. Together with his son and namesake, Dabney Cosby Jr., he also built the new county courthouse, completed in 1839. After much building activity throughout the county, Cosby left Halifax in the early 1840's. However, his son, Dabney Cosby, Jr. remained in Halifax and built a number of structures on Mountain Road including the St. John's Church.
From the mid 1840's generations of residents on Mountain Road have labored to provide attractive and compatible landscape settings for their houses.
Many of the older plantings have survived in a good state of preservation, thus giving Mountain Road a marked, 19th century ambiance.
Lord Halifax and his secretaries Edward Sedgwick and Lovell Stanhope
© National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London
The county of Halifax was formed from Lunenburg in 1752. It was named for George Montague Dunk, Second Earl of Halifax and the English First Lord Commissioner of Trade and Plantations at the time. The seat of govenment has been the Town of Halifax since 1777. At that time the court moved from the site near Crystal Hill called "Punch Spring", located on the old Talbott-Owen farm. After designating numerous sites for the county courthouse, the present location was officially established in October, 1776 by the General Assembly. At that time the Assembly ordered the courthouse to be erected south of the Banister River on land donated by John Borarn. According to Boram, the property was almost in the center of the county and "had the advantage of a 'very high and healthy situation sic, and a Spring of Excellent Water."
A courthouse was built on the Boram site, and around it grew the courthouse town of Banister, named after the neighboring river. A detailed description of the village ca. 1830 which was published in Martin's "Virginia Gazetteer", of 1834 read, in part:
"Besides the usual county buildings, this village contains 25 dwelling houses with a number of outhouses, mechanics shops, etc., two spacious houses of public worship, one Episcopalian and the other Methodist, a large and handsome Masonic Hall (which has lately been erected of brick, in an elevated and advantageous situation, about the middle of the village), several handsome and commodious taverns, three general stores and grocery ... The face of the country on each side of the village is very much broken, which causes it to be long and narrow, and the houses to be built in a scattering manner except immediately around the courthouse where all the stores and mechanics shops are located. The village is remarkable for its health, being well elevated by a gradual ascent of three quarters of a mile from the river It is situated on the main road from Fredericksburg to the South. "
For more information on the history of the South Boston/Halifax County area, visit:
The South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts & History
1540 Wilbom Avenue
P.O. Box 383 South Boston, VA 24592
Phone: (434) 572-9200
Wednesday - Saturday 10:00 - 4:00
Sunday 2:00 - 4:30