Rose Cliff. Ca. 1860

835 Oak Ave, Waynesboro, VA 22980

Formerly the center of a significant orchard operation, Rose Cliff is situated on a hill overlooking the South River. The two-story, three-bay, double-pile dwelling (four large rooms and a central passage on each floor) exhibits features of both the Federal and Greek Revival styles, and incorporates large interior brick chimneys. Of brick construction, the house's walls are laid in five-course American bond (Flemish variant), with pencilled mortar joints that in sheltered areas! retain handwritten initials and signatures, perhaps of the masons and carpenters employed in the building's construction. Covered by a shallow hipped roof of standing-seam metal, the building faces away from the street, toward the river and a trace of the old Greenville Road on the hillside below. A one-story, three-bay porch with chamfered wood columns shelters the riverfront entrance, which features a single-leaf six-panel door flanked by sidelights and topped by a transom. One sidelight has 'T.W. Lambert Juny 1876' etched into a pane. A matching entry, absent a sheltering porch, occupies the north elevation facing the street. Above the front and rear entries are tripartite windows that illuminate the second-floor passage; windows throughout the house are typically 6/6 double-hung wood:sash. A small wing, apparently original to the house, extends from the northwestern comer of the building; it may have served as an office for the plantation.

Interior features include an elaborate wood staircase with an octagonal newel post, turned balusters, tendril-like tread brackets, and recessed spandrel panels; plaster walls; asymmetrical wood moldings at doors and windows; simple pilastered mantels; and built-in shelving in several rooms. Alterations to the interior have been restricted to the addition of small bathrooms and closets in the northern second-floor bedrooms, insertion of a half-bath beneath the stair, and upgrading of one first-floor space for a modern kitchen.

Built in the mid-nineteenth century (at some point before 1866, when it appears in a photograph), Rose Cliff was for many years the center of an orchard and farm operation that encompassed lands along the South River and mountain sides east of Waynesboro and included a cannery, cider mill, and packing barn. As one of the Valley's early commercial orchards, Rose Cliff Fruit Farm had over 1,000 apple trees, counting among its stock York Imperials, Newton Pippins, Ben Davies, Lowrys, Staymans, and Albemarle Pippins. The decline of the apple industry in Virginia led to the eventual demise of the Rose Cliff orchards, and the lands were subdivided upon their purchase by developer Richard L. McElroy of Charlottesville in the early 20th century. (Vest, 'Rose Cliff PIF).

In March of 2000 the Virginia Department of Historic Resources determined that Rose Cliff met the criteria for register eligibility due to its architectural significance. (DHR Evaluation Sheet for 'Rose Cliff,' file no. 136-5051).

Kitchen/wash house (former). Third-quarter 19th century.
Two-leveL painted-brick outbuilding with a large exterior end chimney and a hipped roof, built into an embankment. Main level is accessed from the yard of the main house; the lower level, accessed at a lower point on the sloping hillside, currendy series as a garage or other storage space.

National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form 2/4/02