The Wilderness

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NRHP Listing Date


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Established alongside a main road connecting the springs resorts of Bath County with the Shenandoah Valley, The Wilderness is a large estate in the county’s northeastern mountains. Farmer and politician Samuel Blackburn developed The Wilderness during the early 19th century. At the center of the property is a two-story Georgian-style brick residence probably built about 1816. The house is distinguished by its pedimented front pavilion, pilaster corners, and original interior finishes including mantels of unusual form and detail. Behind the house is a contemporaneous brick carriage house—no doubt a rare refinement in early Bath County—and nearby is the stone foundation of a detached kitchen. Blackburn, the author of anti-dueling legislation and a noted orator, figured in period descriptions of the farm. The estate was later owned by the Frazier family, the proprietors of important springs resorts including Bath Alum Springs and Rockbridge Alum Springs. For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, The Wilderness operated as a stock farm concentrating on large herds of sheep and cattle.

Last Updated: August 28, 2023

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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Nomination Form



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