REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- History for sale: Old Fork Union house has great appeal

Address: 4819 James Madison Highway

Neighborhood: Fork Union in Fluvanna County

Asking: $179,500

Assessment: $195,966 

Year Built: 1882

Size: 2,785 fin. sq. ft.

Land: 1.2 acres

Agent: Tommy Brannock, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III-Downtown, 434-977-3033

Curb Appeal: 8 out of 10

People who love old houses just love old houses, and it's often hard to convince those who are more interested in new construction and modern amenities that taking on the challenge of a "history project" is worth it. That being said, this Fork Union historic home is an interesting investment with character and potential. The right buyer will see both in this patchwork of new, old, and in-between. 

To start with, many but not all windows in the house have been replaced. The main bath on the second floor has a vintage tub and medicine cabinet, while the sink and flooring have been updated. Down in the kitchen, a circa-1950s stove shares space with cabinets that are good representatives of the ‘80s. (While buyers looking for a long-term restoration project can focus on updating– or backdating– one area at a time, everything is newly painted and move-in ready as is.)

The sprawling first floor has plenty of living space. One of the most distinctive rooms is the den in one corner of the house, where wide pine floorboards, paneling, and built-in shelves make it a cozy retreat. Next to the original fireplace, a tall, narrow closet was probably originally used for storing rifles, according to the owner. A narrow half bath off the den sports a sink may have come from a train car restroom.

A more or less circular maze of rooms– including a spacious formal dining room, a living room with fireplace, and several smaller linked rooms with separate access to the outdoors, plus a bath with standup shower—leads to a room similar to the den but with a slate tile floor. A previous elderly owner lived entirely on the first floor, and so two of these rooms are counted as bedrooms. It's unlikely that a new buyer will want to use them for that purpose, but the possibility adds versatility.

Upstairs, three bedrooms all have multiple windows providing lots of light. The largest two mirror each other on either side of the house. In addition to modest closets, each has sort of a walk-in area to the unfinished attic. Previous owners lined the roof supports with hooks. One step down from the long and narrow (but still amply sized) middle bedroom, a bathroom has a claw-foot tub and a toilet, but no shower. So it's likely a new buyer would choose one of the other two bedrooms for the master. 

Hot-water heat from radiators– which many consider the best heat– combine with a slate roof, and a historic marker proclaiming this house as the site of the first classes held at nearby Fork Union Academy on October 15, 1898 to make this an interesting and unique property.

The acre-plus lot is flat, with most of the acre in a long front yard. Although the lot is sizeable, neighbors are close by, and part of a back drive is shared with folks next door. There's no garage, but there is a carport at the back of the house and a shed as well as a slate patio. A screened porch with slate floor adds appeal to the unfinished space that also includes a basement. 

Lovers of old homes who don't mind a drive may want to visit this one. Based on the location, it's a place where a couple with separate commutes (Charlottesville and Richmond) can split the difference. 



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