REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Poor House: Ruckersville cabin has lots of mystery
Address: 2067 Swift Run Road
Neighborhood: Greene Mountain Lake
Year Built: circa 1790
Land: 2.08 acres
Agent: Lori Harris, Real Estate III 434-0951-7003
Curb Appeal: 9 out of 10
This circa 1790 Ruckersville cabin-like house– called the "Poor House" in some old tax documents– has many original details along with some modern conveniences that make it both historical and livable. We'll never know if it was indeed a poor house, but that probably doesn't matter. It may be that imagining the history of the house is more interesting than the reality.
Visitors approach the house at an angle and enter the yard through an arbor. It's picturesque in the traditional sense. The two-acre plot is lush with overgrowth around the edges and big enough for some serious gardening. It's easy to imagine a huge plot of summer's bounty later preserved in Mason jars for the cold months to come.
Through the front door and entry, two living areas lie on either side of a staircase. The larger, more formal living room is on the right. To the left a small room could be a cozy study or tiny guest room. Each has a rustic (and functional) fireplace. The ceiling is unpainted wood with beams that actually make the floor on the second level. The wood was hewn over 200 years ago and has a rich, lived-in look without being shabby.
A sunroom is situated at the back of the main level beyond the original line of the house. There's also a room the current owner is using as a bedroom but could make an office. A deck runs the length of the house and wraps partially around one side, providing a nice view of the yard.
A random door in the study leads nowhere. Because from the exterior, it floats far above ground level, it's a little unsettling. Maybe some of those poor folks had to take a hasty leap?
Old and new meet in the Poor House. There is a clear line where the house has been extended back, but the new side does its best to match the original style, and it works. Original walls, stonework, and fixtures remain. Even some windows have survived, although a few are actually on interior walls now. However, they keep the space feeling open.
In this house, the kitchen is actually at garden level, a traditional English basement. French doors lead out to the yard and a small patio. It's an updated kitchen with smooth butcher-block counters and a view. A "keeping room" off the kitchen sits two steps above the rest of the level. It's cool and cave-like, but the fireplace in the dining area would provide plenty of light and warmth in winter.
There's also a dining area complete with nook/booth overlooking the garden. This level also has a bath with a claw-foot tub. A couple of utility rooms are situated off the kitchen-dining area. Oddly, the fridge is in the first of these. Apparently the owners couldn't find an appropriate place for it in the kitchen.
The second floor contains just a bedroom and full bath. Shelving has been built around the stairs for extra storage (maybe for all those jars). The bedroom has a vaulted ceiling, exposed ducts and, along a full wall, more potential storage in the form of new unfinished wood cabinets. The old-fashioned surface-mounted hinges and naked wood give it a frontier feel. The bathroom has what anybody would expect plus a long, deep closet.
The Poor House has been nicely maintained and updated. It has survived and will provide a comfortable– and perhaps intriguingly mysterious– home for its next owner.
PHOTOS BY SARAH JACOBSON
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