After Middlesex County voters approved a referendum in 1849 to move the county seat from Urbanna to a more central location, Saluda was established in 1851, and in 1852 the Middlesex County Courthouse arose on a square where two roads meet, now the heart of the Saluda Historic District. The district bounds about 65 parcels, mostly located along today’s US 33 and US 17 (historically, Gloucester Road) and consists of a mix of small-scale commercial and governmental buildings, churches, schools, and single-family residences in a blend of architectural styles such as Greek Revival, Folk Victorian, Classical Revival, Colonial Revival, American Foursquare, Bungalow, and Ranch, along with vernacular architecture. The district’s oldest house is the circa-1837 Oakenham, constructed for Thomas W. Fauntleroy, who was instrumental in promoting the referendum that relocated the county seat to Saluda. Fauntleroy and John P. Bristow, who was paid five dollars for the 2.5-acre court square parcel, owned most of the land surrounding the square, and the two subdivided some of their property and platted the village. Middlesex is one of the few counties in Virginia to retain its antebellum land records after a quick-thinking county clerk saved them from destruction during the Civil War by hiding them instead of sending them to Richmond. During the 1800s and early 1900s, Saluda retained its village character, one centered on the business of the courts. During the first quarter of the 20th century, prominent individuals constructed substantial houses, while the century’s second quarter saw the construction of more modest dwellings. The district’s former Antioch Elementary School and the existing Antioch Baptist Church both have important historical associations with Saluda’s African American community.
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