Placed to command long vistas of Bedford County’s landscape, the patrician homestead of Bellevue is associated with educator and Confederate politician James Philemon Holcombe. The original house was built in two campaigns (1824 and 1840). After the Civil War Holcombe established a private high school here. Bellevue High School prospered in the late 19th century, catering primarily to the sons of well-to-do families. In 1870 William Richardson Abbott joined Bellevue as associate principal and became headmaster after Holcombe’s death in 1873. Competition from free public schools forced Bellevue’s closing in 1909. Owned by Abbott descendants until 1995, the property still retains a dormitory building known as The Inkstand. Bellevue’s original, Federal-period section preserves its early 19th-century character. The antebellum portion has woodwork derived from designs in Asher Benjamin’s Practical House Carpenter (1830). Several early outbuildings, an old garden, and a family cemetery remain on the grounds, which serve as a centerpiece to the listed Bellevue Rural Historic District.
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