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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

030-0320 The Oaks

The Oaks
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

NPS property number 2000585

The Oaks is an exceptional example of a Neoclassical-style mansion designed by Washington, D.C., architect W.H. Irwin Fleming and built between 1931 and 1933 for an Episcopal minister, the Rev. Paul Delafield Bowden, and his wife Margaret. Located in a wooded setting west of Warrenton, the two-and-a-half-story house is built of rubbed and glazed bricks laid in an unusual English cross-bond pattern. The façade is dominated by a two-story columned and pedimented portico sheltering an entrance surmounted by a graceful elliptical fanlight. Service wings flank the main block, and one wing is connected to a garage by an arcaded brick passage. The interior woodwork in the 22-room dwelling is also well executed in the Neoclassical tradition. Thirteen historic outbuildings, including a servants’ quarters, greenhouse, and summerhouse, are part of the estate. In a wooded tract on the property prior to the construction of The Oaks, the last duel fought in Northern Virginia occurred on September 20, 1881, between General Peyton Wise and U.S. District Attorney Lunsford Lomax Lewis. Ending without injury, the hostile engagement stemmed from their passionate political differences over the heavily debated settlement of Virginia’s pre-Civil War debt.


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

Updated August 7, 2018