McVitty House

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


The McVitty House was built in 1906 in the city of Salem as a two-and-a-half-story frame house in the Colonial Revival style with Adam English elements. The original property included the current half-acre property, the property now occupied by the Burwell Place condominiums and much of Tank Hill. The home forms the end of a group of five historic mansions that border Lake Spring Park and that were built after the demise of the Old Lake Spring Hotel. Samuel McVitty, the wealthy owner of a prominent Salem tannery, occupied the house from its completion until 1915. Lewis Dawson, manager of the McVitty tannery, purchased the house in 1917 and added a wing to the rear in the 1920s. The house features elliptical fanlight windows and elaborate gabled dormers. By the turn of the 21st century, the owners had added substantial landscaping to enhance the property, including Italian Columnar Leyland Cypress trees that surround three sides of the property, multiple raised perennial beds, climbing roses to cover the front rock wall, formal English gardens, formal rose gardens and multiple brick pathways. At the time of its listing in the registers in 2003, the recently restored McVitty House was also serving as a small inn.

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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