Westmoreland County’s Kirnan (formerly China Hall), constructed in 1781, exemplifies Early Republic-period architecture that reflects the wealth and status of the Tidewater family that built it. The house’s original center-hall plan, with three heated rooms on the first floor and two in the garret above, evidences a level of sophistication available to only a small percentage of landowners in Tidewater at the close of the 18th century. Several decades after construction, owners George and Anne Garner expanded the house with additions that revealed stylish configurations of space and detailing for the early 1800s, including the addition of a Port Royal parlor on the primary façade. That plan, a popular variation of the center-hall plan in the Federal period, added a Tidewater regional architectural context to the original dwelling. It also demonstrates the cultural importance the era placed on entertaining and hospitality, and offers an interesting example of how these newer variations in function of space and decorative detailing were integrated into an older house form. By 1830, all significant alterations to Kirnan were completed.
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
Photo credit: Leigh Ann Miller, 2018