1937 WPA Report

Back to: Plantation History

According to a WPA report written by Sue Gordon in 1937 [excerpted herein], Colonel Dangerfield “owned about forty negroes, exported annually 3,600 bushels of wheat … owned a lot of horses … and was noted for his hospitality and his kindness and consideration of those whom he employed, as shown by the diary of John Harrower, who was employed as a tutor in 1774.”

Belvedere Plantation Owners

Colonel William Dangerfield 1760 [cannot find]
Owned by Mr. Henry Taylor and Estate approximately 1860 – 1916
Mr. Alexander Berger from 1916 to present [1937]

housePhotos

Property Description

Belvidere (sic) stands on the Rappahannock River with very old trees surrounding it.
There is an avenue of trees from the highway to the old mansion.
Many barns and garages have replaced the cabins of slaves, the little school house, which was within a short distance of the river, and the old kitchen.

The house is of Colonial architecture of brick construction with dormer windows and a small stone porch with big white pillars.  The lights on the sides of the front door are rather unusual in shape, being long and narrow, and several of them in a row, the panes of glass extend down half way of the door.

One unique piece of ornamentation on the exterior is the small fan shaped pieces of stucco over the windows and doors, making a very attractive finish.

The original house was two stories with dormer windows.  Mr. Alex Berger added a one story wing on each side of frame construction and a full story to the second story.  The dormer windows are now on the third floor, instead of on the second.

One very unique feature on this old plantation was an icehouse, evidently dug by Colonel Dangerfield.  It was about twenty-five feed deep, rocked up with an underdrain running in to Snow Creek.  It always kept ice from the day it was filled until the following year when it was refilled, in fact, it has been told that large pieces of ice were thrown out when it was refilled.  I have often heard my father say how very unusual it was that the ice should keep so well, and it was some time before the secret was discovered, which was the underdrain showing that the Colonel certainly knew how to preserve ice.  On the site of the old icehouse now stands a beacon light.

As you enter the house, there is a short hall with rooms on each side and a board stairway of walnut.  All of the rooms have recess windows, sills of stone, fluted wainscoting around the windows, carved mantels of dainty designs and hand carved base boards.

In the center of the two rooms on the right, as you enter, there are two attractive designs, representing flowers in stucco.  On the left there is a room now used as a dining room which was a chapel when the Taylors owned the property.  The windows are cut down very low, and evidently one of them in the old days was used as a door, as there are still panes of glass around it.

There was originally an archway between the two rooms on the right, which has been removed and it now has the appearance of being only one large room.

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