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 house was re-rendered with the present rough stucco in 1916, and the property is now within the town boundaries of Grottoes.
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