Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

081-0084 Thorn Hill

Thorn Hill
Photo credit: Mike Pulice/DHR, 2015

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 02/18/1975

NRHP Listing Date 06/18/1975

NRHP Reference Number 75002035

Thorn Hill, one of Rockbridge County’s most venerable anchors in the past, was built ca. 1792 for John Bowyer, a schoolteacher who settled here in 1753. Bowyer helped organize Rockbridge County in 1778. In 1782 he became a colonel in the Rockbridge County militia and later served as justice of the peace. He was appointed one of the first trustees of Liberty Hall Academy in 1792. Bowyer’s commandingly situated homestead is noted for its elaborate but eccentrically proportioned late Georgian woodwork. Its joiner was obviously untutored in architectural refinements but was highly skilled with an entertaining sense of design. The south fa├žade of Thorn Hill retains its delicate Federal porch; what was a two-level porch on the opposite front was replaced in the 19th century with four heavy Greek Doric columns. Several early outbuildings are placed to make a forecourt on the house’s south side.

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

Updated: September 16, 2021