High View


High View stands on a high rise near the entrance to Beech Grove, with panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Ryland Rodes built it in 1835, taking ten years to complete. The front of the house originally faced the Stage Road, but became the back of the house when the road was changed. High View originally contained four separated rooms with an outside entrance to each one. A different family used each room.

It is a three-story frame house, and covered with poplar weatherboarding made from tree grown on the place. The main supports of the house are oak, measuring ten by thirteen inches. Like Wintergreen, the builders also used bricks between the inside and outside wall for insulation, plastering it over on the inside, thereby giving the house the extra strength that has enabled it to stand for years. Craftsmen made the bricks, nails, hardware, and the weatherboarding from material produced on the farm. The windows still contain much of the original glass.


The kitchen, and dining room are located in the English basement. The wall that separates the two rooms contains a unique circular revolving lazy Susan made of tin with perforated doors. The doors resemble those on the old pie safes. The servants placed the food prepared on the shelves of the revolving safe, and rotated it to the dining room where servants received and served the food. They reversed the process to clear the table and send the dishes back to the kitchen. The basement windows in the kitchen have sliding wooden blinds, and a kitchen fireplace with hooks and crane formerly used to cook the food. Other interesting features in the basement are windows with sliding wooden blinds, and a kitchen fireplace that still has intact the hooks and crane to cook the meals.

The parlor has oak flooring said to have been soaked in water for a year and a half before being dried, and laid. To put graining in the woodwork of the house –the doorframes, window frames, wainscoting, mantels, and chair rails, an Irish potato was used rather than a paintbrush. The result gave the impression of graining in the wood, rather than painted on it. The unusual feature of “potato painting can also be seen at the McLean House in Appomattox, the only other house in Virginia with this feature.

High View has six fireplaces. A large brick chimney stands on either end of the house, providing each room with a fireplace. There is a huge rock chimney in the center of the house with a fireplace off of it into each of the rooms. Inside the house are three stories and nine rooms. Upstairs, a staircase stands in both the back and the front of the house; and each room has a fireplace with hand-carved mantels.


Outside of the house, a number of building still stand including a three-story schoolhouse, meat house, and necessary. The schoolhouse has a cellar bellow, a schoolroom above, and quarters for the schoolmaster on the third floor. The old meat house has timbers mortised and pegged, and an ice pit, some twenty feet deep and fifteen feet in diameter stood below. In the winter, servants would fill the ice pit with ice from the nearby ice pond, providing the family throughout the summer. A three-seat necessary is behind the ice pit building. The old slaves’ quarters of stone and wood construction were recently remodeled. Now it features a country kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, two baths, and fireplaces. The present owners have established vineyards and a winery on the property.