Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

009-0031 Three Otters

Three Otters
Photo credit: Mike Pulice/DHR, 2012

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 07/07/1970

NRHP Listing Date 09/15/1970

NRHP Reference Number 70000785

One of Virginia’s most distinctive examples of country rural Greek Revival domestic architecture, this dwelling illustrates how the classical architectural vocabulary could be adapted to embellish fully modern, specifically American forms. Abel Beach Nichols, a Connecticut merchant, settled in Virginia in 1820 and built Three Otters in Bedford County some ten years later. Although its designer/builder has not been identified, much of the detailing, inside and out, was faithfully reproduced from Asher Benjamin’s The Practical House Carpenter (1830), a popular pattern book of the period. A unique feature is the series of small windows in the metopes that, when opened, form a ventilation system. Other features of interest include the marbleized stair, the Flemish-bond brickwork, and the ruins of an original brick chicken house.

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: September 14, 2021