Home tour highlights historic Winterpock

The blooms of spring will be a welcomed sight for many and doors will be open for home tours in April. Along with garden week in Virginia with several scheduled home tours, the Chesterfield Historical Society of VA (CHSV) is presenting a tour of more than a dozen historic homes, churches and cemeteries and a school for its “Historic Winterpock Day,” one week earlier to garden week,  on Saturday, April 12.

The tour of one of Chesterfield County’s oldest communities will benefit the CHSV “Revive Magnolia Grange” campaign to raise funds for the interior refurbishment of the nearly 200-year-old Magnolia Grange house museum on Iron Bridge Road, the only historic home open to the public in Chesterfield County.

“The community of Winterpock is delighted to be in the spotlight,” said Betty Waltman, chairperson for the tour. “We started off as a home tour and it grew to accomplish so much more. We have a school and a living history of domestic arts, a walking brochure of graveyards that captures no just people but the symbolism within the graveyard itself.  Symbols in the headstones.”

Waltman said the private homes on the tour, which include Adventure Hill (c 1847), Physic Hill (c 1815), Clover Hill Plantation (c1834) and Buzzard’s Roost (c 1870), are rarely open to the public but the homeowners are happy to share them during this tour.  Waltman said the owners of Adventure Hill feel it is their responsibility and a privilege to be able to live in the old home and it is their duty to share it with others.  

The benefits from the tour will add much needed funds for the refurbish of the interior of Magnolia Grange. “There is so much that needs to be done,” said Tamara Evans, who has served as the museum’s docent and gift shop manager for 20 years.  “We have tread-bear carpet, wallpaper coming off and a lot of plaster work needed desperately.”

The committee is also selling sponsorships for the brochure to pay for the tours expenses. “With your ad in the tour brochure you could promote your business, service or association, express your personal ‘Best Wishes” or honor an individual, family, club or society,” said Waltman. The ad can be purchased for as little as $30 for a quarter of a page; or $100 for a full page.

Also included in the tour will be Gifft’s Store (c 1929), a colorful landmark in the heart of Winterpock where classic cars from Crater Antique Car Club (weather permitting) will be displayed, and Historic Beach Station (c 1890)which served as a train depot and post office at the center of Beach village.  Today, the restored house and surrounding railroad shanties provide a unique sense of life in rural Chesterfield County at the turn of the 20th century.

Four Winterpock area churches will be featured in the daylong historic tour: the Reformed Baptist Church of Richmond,  located at the iconic crossroad of Winterpock and Beach roads, was built circa 1825 and has served its current congregation since 1977; its neighbor on Winterpock Road, Bethia United Methodist Church, which was formed in 1886, has undergone many expansions and houses the original cornerstone and memorial windows; Centenary United Methodist Church was formed in 1883 at  Physic Hill, its sanctuary was built circa 1918 and was completed with furnishings made by inmates; and, Tabernacle Baptist Church, formed in 1862 by black families who met in a bush arbor and lumber building, which current structure was built in 1976.

Additional church activities during “Historic Winterpock Day” will include refreshments and a presentation of the history of Tabernacle Baptist Church including oral history videos narrated by church elders, and a bake sale at Centenary United Methodist Church featuring recipes from the United Methodist Women’s cookbook, which will be for sale. Self-guided tour information for local cemeteries will be available at Bethia United Methodist Church, Centenary United Methodist Church and Reformed Baptist Church of Richmond.

Throughout the day, Historic Beach Station will offer an a la carte menu and Magnolia Grange will offer refreshments. Pre-ordered box lunches at $7.50 per person will be provided by Bethia UMC for pick-up 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Box lunch tickets can be purchased on the CHSV website www.chesterfieldhistory.com using PayPal.

Tour tickets are on sale with advance tickets at $25 for adults and $12.50 for students (18 and younger). Tour day tickets for $30 and $12.50 will be available at Bethia UMC, 10700 Winterpock Rd.

The Chesterfield Historical Society of VA serves as the center for Chesterfield County history. Its mission is to research and celebrate Chesterfield County’s history. For more information or to volunteer, call 796-7121 or visit chesterfieldhistory.com.

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