Chester Inn

170 Years of History in the Making

It is often said that owners of historic homes are simply caretakers of its past and present, keeping it alive for those who come in the future. At the historic Chester Inn, we are so honored and privileged to have been the caretakers of this majestic house and property for 26 years!  We are delighted to share that this year marks the 170th anniversary of Chester’s creation. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing photos and interesting facts about our historic Virginia home here and on Facebook. To provide those of you with a keen interest information about how this home has evolved since the first board was laid in 1847.

Chester Inn Historic Virginia Home

The first records we have of Chester shows the arboretum grounds that the historic home sits on were owned by John Scott, whom you might notice shares the same name as the town we live in and was, fittingly, the founder of Scottsville, Virginia. James K. Polk was the current President of the United States, and Scottsville was prospering on the busy horseshoe bend of the James River, which was the main conduit of commerce and travel through central Virginia. In 1830, he sold the property for $325 (about $8,250 in today’s dollar) and it was sold again in 1831 for an unspecified amount. At this time, there was no building on the property yet.

After an 1841 private sale, it was sold at public auction after payments had not been kept up. Joseph C. Wright arrived in town during this period from Chester, England and purchased the property. A landscape architect by trade, he built the original structure right after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello was finished, using many of the same construction methods.

Historic Chester Original StairsThe original house had two stories and was three bays wide. Built in the popular Greek Revival style, the foundation was propped on large boulders that were already on the land. Hand-hewn oak beams from trees on the property still support the original structure. The original stairs, banisters and molded handrails built by Joseph Wright remain to this day, standing as an example of the quality of these construction methods.

The home was finished in weatherboard of heart pine, which is known for producing a tremendous amount of resin. Much of this resin remains today, keeping paint from adhering to certain parts of the exterior, despite our best attempts to paint!

The pitched roof was laid in an intricate fish scale design made with slate from neighboring Buckingham County in a raised manner to promote air circulation within the home and to keep the slate dry. Two single chimneys adorned the house and provided heat for both cooking and comfort during the winters.

Stay posted for the next few weeks as we continue to discover the history behind Chester Bed and Breakfast in Scottsville, Va!