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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

034-0161 Willa Cather Birthplace

Willa Cather Birthplace
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 09/21/1976

NRHP Listing Date 11/16/1978

NPS property number 78003017

The American novelist and short story writer Willa Cather (1873 1947) was born in this plain weatherboarded log house in the tiny community of Gore north of Winchester. The next year the infant Willa was taken by her parents to live at Willow Shade nearby. In 1883 the family moved to Red Cloud, Neb. where she spent her formative years. In her writings Cather concentrated on the pioneer traditions of the Nebraska prairie and the deserts of the Southwest, emphasizing the themes of courage, struggle, and respect for the land. She received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel One of Ours (1922). Cather’s Virginia birthplace was built in the early 19th century by her great grandfather Jacob Seibert. It was enlarged and remodeled ca. 1850. The house was owned and occupied by her maternal grandmother, Rachel E. Boak, when her parents were married here in 1872.


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

Updated April 4, 2018