Villa Heights

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NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Villa Heights in Roanoke was constructed by 1820 for Lt. Colonel Elijah McClanahan. A veteran of the War of 1812, McClanahan owned most of the land that ultimately became the Northwest section of Roanoke City, which included “Long Meadow,” the future site of Villa Heights, a large, brick, two-story dwelling. Designed in the Federal style with a center passage, the house retains its original single-pile floor plan. During the early 20th century significant alterations in the then popular Classical Revival style were made to the house with the addition of interior and exterior elements.

Featuring a monumental portico with Doric columns and fluted pilasters and a fanlight and sidelights at its main entrance, the façade is both dramatic and architecturally distinctive. The interior retains intact early-20th-century wood molding and trim, paneled wooden doors, and fireplace mantels. Although the house was re-purposed in the late 1950s for public recreational use, it remains illustrative of an early-19th-century dwelling with later significant Classical Revival details.

The property is also significant for its association with Lt. Col. McClanahan, who served as a justice when Roanoke County was formed from part of Botetourt County and was later appointed its first high sheriff. He was also among the trustees chosen at the founding of the town of Salem, and among the founding elders of Salem Presbyterian Church. One of the largest landholders in the county, McClanahan married Agatha Lewis, the daughter of General Andrew Lewis, a Revolutionary War hero.

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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