Back when the railroad whisked city dwellers away from Washington’s heat and humidity to a resort town near the Blue Ridge Mountains, this 1892 shingle-style home was Paeonian Springs’s original boardinghouse. Over the years, the house transformed into a rest home for the elderly, a home for unwed mothers and finally a private residence.

Paeonian Springs, an unincorporated town about four miles west of Leesburg, was established to take advantage of its location on the railway line and near a natural spring. Enterprising entrepreneur Theodore Milton founded the Paeonian Springs Company in 1890 to develop the village as a resort town and market the water’s healing properties.

Historians disagree on what was Milton’s inspiration for the name Paeonian Springs. Some say it was derived from Greek gods of medicine. Others attribute it to Homer’s Iliad.

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Whatever the source, Milton was an enthusiastic promoter. In an advertisement in a local newspaper, Paeonian Springs water was touted as “a fountain of health flowing out of the deep rock ribs of the Catoctin Mountain for the healing of the people.”

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Addison Clarke Vandeventer bought the boardinghouse from Milton and called it the Vandeventer Inn. He charged $1 a day or $5 a week. Guests were permitted to take the Paeonian Spring water home for free. Fannie Meek, who bought the boardinghouse from Vandeventer, bottled the water and sold it for $1 a gallon.

The town of Paeonian Springs flourished until the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 called into question many of the health claims made about the water. The advent of the automobile also made people less dependent on railways for travel.

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With tourism on the decline, the boardinghouse was sold in 1947 to T.A. and Fanny Clopton, who turned it into a rest home. In 1994, it underwent a major renovation and reopened two years later as Jeremiah House, a place for young pregnant women.

The current owners bought the home in 2004 and transformed it into a single-family home while retaining many of its character-defining features.

A wraparound porch is an inviting entrance to the home and a relaxing spot on hot summer days. Among the original features that have endured are the banister on the stairway in the foyer, the transoms, heart pine flooring in several rooms and fireplace bricks.

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The kitchen was designed by Del. David A. LaRock (R-Loudoun). A copper range hood and warm henna tiles complement the island’s dark green granite countertop. Six bedrooms are on the second level, with the master suite taking up the entire third floor.

The 1.41-acre property, which includes a salt-water pool, cabana with sauna, chicken coop and garage with a dog-wash station, is listed at $959,900.

Listing agent: Naomi Hattaway, 8th and Home

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