Pear Valley Presents the NHPS Video
Pear Valley: A 1740 Yeoman’s Cottage
Featuring Dr. Garrison Brown
In this 23-minute
video featuring Dr. Garrison Brown, Board Member and Pear Valley Overseer, takes us on a tour of the historic Pear Valley
property. Pear Valley represents what was once a common building in
the rural landscape of the Chesapeake region. The yeoman planter’s cottage has
been dated to 1740.
In 2013, it was designated as a National Historic Landmark and became one of only 2,596 landmarks in the entire U.S., 121 Virginia, and two in Northampton County. This places Pear Valley in the company of Virginia’s Monticello, Montpelier, and Bacon’s Castle as a property officially recognized by the U.S. government for its national historic significance.
The 20-by-16-foot structure is a one-room, open or hall-plan house with a loft that was eventually subdivided into two rooms. Its survival as a 2nd generation Chesapeake house was due in part to its construction on a brick frame foundation instead of the “earth fast” or post in the ground homes used by early settlers. Another factor in retaining its historical integrity was that it was used by one family, and Nottingham/Widgeon’s for 200 years.
The quality of craftsmanship at Pear Valley can be seen by
its architectural elements. These
include the Flemish bond chimney that features glazed headers in a Chevron
pattern, a treatment employed in well-crafted buildings through the first half
of the 18th century. A false plate was
used to carry the rafters and the interior exposed beams showcase chamfered
edges and hand-wrought nails. Learn how Pear Valley has survived for almost
three centuries and see the architectural elements that make it important to
historians and scholars.
Pear Valley represents a rare survival of what was once a common building type in rural Virginia. This yeoman planter's cottage has been dated by dendrochronology to 1740. In 1994, with the generous support of the Summerfield Baldwin Foundation, APVA Preservation Virginia commissioned an Historic Structures Report to assess the known history and the existing condition of the structure. The Report also laid out immediate conservation needs and a long-term preservation plan for the structure.
Over the next ten years, APVA-Preservation Virginia addressed most of them including the entire roof. It was replaced with oak shingles as called for in the Historic Structures report. The shingles were split from white oak from Germany. Preservation Virginia deeded the property to Northampton Historic Preservation Society in 2014 (see story below).
Pear Valley was placed on the National
Register of Historic Places in 1969 and became a National Historic
Landmark in 2013.The National Register of Historic Places is the
official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. A National Historic Landmark (NHL) is a building, district, object, site or structure that is officially recognized
by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance.
Northampton County has 27 properties and districts on the National Register of Historic Places and two designated as National Historic Landmarks. There are a total of 120
National Historic Landmarks in Virginia. There are over 2,500 properties and districts recognized in the U.S. as National Historic Landmarks. Find more information here from the Pear Valley National Historic Landmark Nomination: .
Pear Valley Deeded to NHPS
Louis Malon, representing Preservation Virginia, has turned the keys to Pear Valley over to Nan Bennett, President of the Northampton Historic Preservation Society, and the NHPS Board of Directors. The deed to Pear Valley officially passed to the NHPS on November 13, 2014. This places a jewel of Northampton and Virginia preservation efforts into the hands of the newly independent Northampton County historic preservation nonprofit organization. NHPS, formerly the Northampton Branch of Preservation Virginia, has managed Pear Valley since the PVA acquired it in 1986. The Northampton preservation group began its mission in 1913 by saving the 1731 Courthouse on the Eastville Court Green.
In March 2014, Pear Valley was designated a National Historic Landmark by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. Pear Valley is one of 123 National Historic Landmarks in Virginia and 2,540 nationwide. It was included in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1969. This yeoman planter's cottage survives as an example of what was a common building type in rural Virginia in the 1740's.
2014 NHPS Board at Pear Valley
Pear Valley - A&N Electric Cooperative Living!!!!!!
Northampton Historic Preservation Society
P.O. Box 501
Eastville, VA 23347