Holladay House: 1830-1849
The History of the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange, Virginia
Construction and Early Residents
In 1799, Paul Verdier purchased the property of William Bell, an 18th century farm that included much of the modern-day Town of Orange. Bell’s Tavern was a part of this property, which Verdier renamed the Orange Hotel. The Orange Hotel stood at the site of what is now the historic Orange Court House, which was constructed in 1859.
Paul Verdier divided the William Bell farm into town lots, creating a town layout that survives largely intact. For years, historians have believed that the building that is now the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange, VA was once the Dinkle and Rumbough Mercantile Store, which Samuel Dinkle and Jacob Rumbough founded in the early 1830s to sell “dry goods, groceries, hardware, etc. including hats.” This store began operations in the early 1830s and continued until the 1850s.
New research by noted architectural historian Ann Miller demonstrates that the building that is now the Holladay House Bed and Breakfast was not the Dinkle and Rumbough store, as historians had assumed for the past twenty-five years or more. Miller states that the confusion was a result of inconsistent lot numbering systems. In the recently published errata to her book Antebellum Orange (available at the Orange County Historical Society one block away), Miller writes, “The town lots were renumbered several times between 1835 and 1872, when the town of Orange finally was incorporated. None of these numbering systems appear to have any relation to each other, and no plats survive for the earlier numbering systems.”
As a result of this latest archival research, it appears that a man named Hugh Stephens constructed the Federal-style brick structure in the early 1830s, not Dinkle and Rumbough. Apparently, the home was Stephens’s personal residence. According to Miller, in 1834 “Stephens sold the property to local merchant Mann A. Page and his wife, Mary C. Willis Page. By the late 1830s, Page was in severe financial and legal difficulties, and his house was acquired by Page's father-in-law, William C. Willis, and brothers-in-law, Robert T. Willis and Richard H. Willis. The Willis family put the property in trust for the benefit of the Page children. John M. Chapman purchased the property from Robert T. Willis and Richard H. Willis in 1849.”
Follow the links below for more historical information!
For information about local historical sites and heritage tourism, see our Travel Guide for Charlottesville, Orange, and Central Virginia.
To begin an adventure into history, visit our Virginia Travel Packages page, which includes special packages and itineraries for Heritage Tourism, Archaeology Travel, Civil War Sesquicentennial Events, and Civil War Tours.