Stephen Harnsberger House

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NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


Built in Rockingham County in 1856 as the dwelling for what was originally known as Cottage Plains Farm, the Stephen Harnsberger House is a Shenandoah Valley example of the octagonal building fad that spread across the nation in the mid-19th-century. While the façade and shape of the house clearly reflect an awareness of the fashion popularized in Orson Squire Fowler’s A Home for All or The Gravel Wall and Octagon Mode of Building (1848), the interior retains the traditional arrangement of spaces in a center-passage, double-pile Georgian scheme. Stephen M. Harnsberger was a descendant of John Harnsberger, a Swiss-German who settled near Germanna in the early 18th century. Instead of Fowler’s recommended gravel-wall construction the Harnsberger house is built of brick which was originally covered with horse-hair stucco. The Stephen Harnsberger House was re-rendered with the present rough stucco in 1916, and the property is now within the town boundaries of Grottoes.

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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