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This picturesque colonial manor house of Kempsville takes its name from the Kemp family. Its construction date is uncertain but the original portion, long the home of the Broaddus family, could have been built in the mid-18th century or earlier. The location of the house near Dragon Swamp in Gloucester County has led to a mistaken identification of the place as Dragon Ordinary, a building which actually stood a mile away. Characteristic of colonial vernacular architecture, the house combines sophisticated detailing with an asymmetrical façade. The walls within Kempsville are laid in Flemish bond, and the chimneys have distinctive T-shaped stacks. Inside is a Georgian stair and a paneled chimney wall. The clapboard roof preserved under the present roof is a rare surviving example of a once-common, albeit crude, roofing type. A rarer-still fragment of 18th-century wallpaper lines the semi-dome of the parlor cupboard.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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

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