Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

008-0050 Three Hills

Three Hills
Photo credit: David Edwards/DHR, 2013

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 09/19/2013

NRHP Listing Date 12/24/2013

NRHP Reference Number 13000986

Located on a hill at the outskirts of the Bath County village of Warm Springs, the estate known as Three Hills was built in 1913 by author Mary Johnston as her residence. Johnston, the first best-selling novelist of the 20th century, gained popularity for her historical romances featuring heroes and heroines of colonial Virginia. She lived at Three Hills until her death in 1936 during the latter and most productive period of her life and career, when she wrote 16 novels and one book of nonfiction. While Johnston faded from the canon of American authors by the mid-20th-century, scholars have taken renewed interest in her with the rediscovery of her early involvement in the women’s suffrage movement in Virginia. The main house at Three Hills, completed in an Italian Renaissance style with a Colonial Revival-style interior, was designed by Richmond architects Carneal and Johnston and is the only known example of their work in western Virginia. The property features a small formal boxwood garden and three Craftsman-like cottages that were built in the 1910s and 1920s, including Garden Cottage, where Johnston wrote many of her works.

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

Updated: June 6, 2021