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Also known as the “Pink House,” Aurora is a classic example the Italian Villa style popularized by the pattern books of architectural theorist Andrew Jackson Downing. Employing a low hipped roof with central gable and long veranda, the exterior closely resembles Design XXVII, “A small Country House for the Southern States,” in Downing’s Architecture of Country Houses (1850). Downing wrote that this design “affords, in its broadly projecting roof and long extended veranda, that ample shade, so indispensable to all dwellings in a southern climate.” The veranda of Aurora was given distinction here by being executed in decorative cast iron. The Patrick County house was built around 1853 for Thomas Jefferson Penn, a prominent farmer, merchant, and tobacconist. Penn’s son, Frank Reid Penn, founded F.R. & G. Penn Co., which was eventually acquired by tobacco magnate James Duke to form the American Tobacco Company.

Last Updated: April 22, 2024

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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Patrick (County)


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