We don’t usually venture as far as Orange, Va., for our House of the Week feature, but this Federal-style home had such an interesting history we made an exception.
The central, original portion of the house was built in 1819 by Paul Verdier, who christened his new home Montpeliso. According to Ann L. Miller, author of “Antebellum Orange,” the home, which was part of Verdier’s 240-acre plantation, was the site of a reception for the Marquis de Lafayette during his American tour in 1824.
Joseph Hiden bought the property in 1833 and turned it into a private boys’ school. He and his son added the porch and two-story brick wings done in a Greek Revival style to the original structure around 1859. They also reoriented the structure from the east to the south.
The school closed not long after the start of the Civil War, and the house was taken over by Confederate officers and wounded soldiers. In 1862, Stonewall Jackson and other generals used Montpeliso to plan their strategy for the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
W.W. Harper acquired the home in 1888, and it remained in his family until 1944. During their ownership, a one-story rear wing was added to the original structure. Then, in the 1940s, the central portion and the wings were made into apartments.
In 1987, the building was converted into three townhouses. Despite the many alterations, the facade of the home remains much the same as it appeared in the 19th century.
Many parts of the structure are original, including the mantels on the fireplaces, the plaster walls in the basement, parts of the woodwork, the heart pine floors and some of the windows.
Dellis Compton, who owns two of the townhouses with his wife, Sharon, and Michael Bonnet, who owns the third townhouse, often like to sit on the veranda.
“It has the best breeze in town,” said Dellis Compton, noting that the home is situated on the highest point in the town of Orange.
The property can be purchased either in its entirety or separately by townhouse. The townhouses are being sold for between $179,300 and $210,000, while the entire house is being sold for $565,000.
Listing: 1 Morton St., Orange, Va.
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