Flying North-West over the Rappahannock, looking towards Tappahannock. Riverside Condominium on the left, June Parker Marina on the right. The Bridge carries Route 360 over to Richmond County on the north shore. The outline of the pilings for the old steamboat dock are visible to the left of the bridge.
Captain Thomas cruise returns from one of the daily Rappahannock River cruises up to the Ingleside Winery - departs at 10am and returns about 4pm
From the top of Downing Bridge early one morning - Richmond County were asked to block one lane of the bridge so that a half hour photo shoot could take place.
Sailing North across the Rappahannock River, the Downing Bridge in the background
Anderton-Coleman House: This was the original Robert Coleman home; it was part of his plantation before the Town of Tappahannock was laid out. The center part is the original with its early American architecture. It still retains the original weatherboarding, windows, and chimneys. The interior shows handsome but simple doors, mantels, and trimming.
Many prominent Essex County families have owned and lived in it. The Anderton Family in the 1890s added the southern section and St. Margaret's School added the northern section in the 1970’s. Since 1947 it has been owned by St. Margaret's School and is now used as a senior class dormitory.
Brockenbrough-McCall House: There was a 20 foot square house here in 1682 when Edward Hill Sr. bought Lot 1 in the original Town plat. Archibald McCall, a Scotch merchant of the Town, bought this lot in 1763 and proceeded to build the present house.
Its Georgian style together with its exquisite exterior and interior trim show the work of a master builder. William Buckland, who did Gunston Hall for Mr. Mason, was not only in the area at the time of the building but also appeared in Essex Court as a witness for Mr. McCall in 1766, when Mr. McCall entered Court action for a claimed riot about the Stamp Act which had occurred at his home.
It is believed that William Buckland did the wood work and trimming for this house. A black marble mantel in the drawing room was shattered by the shelling from a British gunboat in the Rappahannock River during the war of 1812 but was put together again and is still in use in the room.
After the War Between the States, Mrs. Judith Brockenbrough McGuire conducted a girl's schoo1 here. The Brockenbrough and Chinn families owned and lived here for many years. In 1927 they sold the property to St. Margaret's School where it is now being used as a reception center for Admission and Public Relations offices. The house has been extensively restored and reopened in 2005.
St. Margaret's Hall, Wright-Gordon: This house is now the center part of a much larger building, as school wings were added on each end in the 1920s; but the original structure can still be observed on the exterior by the four large chimneys and original roof lines. The interior is substantially intact and has withstood the footsteps of young girls for the past 50 years.
The original home was built by Dr. Thomas Gordon on a tract that was originally the Coleman plantation. It was later acquired by the William A. Wright family in 1850; then acquired again by the Gordons and in 1876 by the late Judge Thomas Roane Barnes Wright, whose family in the middle 1920's sold it to start St. Margaret's Episcopal Girl's School. The large, high ceiling rooms with double parlors and fireplaces together with front and rear columned porches add both charm and atmosphere to the school.
St. John's Episcopal Church: The land was ordained in 1849 and construction began in the Fall. This wooden Gothic structure was completed in 1850 and consecrated in 1853 under the rectorship of the Reverend John Peyton McGuire, whose wife was Judith Brockenbrough. This is one of the two churches in South Farnham Parish which was established in 1683. The two original brick churches were completely destroyed soon after the Revolution and all the parish records perished, and we know that one church was burned.
The beauty of this present structure is enhanced both in the interior and exterior by its simplicity. It has been in continuous use since its building as a church and has undergone restoration and expansion - six stained glass windows have been added over the years to enhance the historical and tradition perspective.
Henley House Emerson's Ordinary: At least a 20-foot square building was erected here by 1718 and in 1757 when James Emerson bought it, buildings are enumerated. An insurance policy of 1801 states that the building is "45 foot long wooden tavern with a wood wing, one-story Dutch roof, located to front of Lot 11 with a wood kitchen and smoke house to the rear.” These are still standing with the kitchen added to the main house and are substantially as described at this date. Many families have owned and lived here, but none has altered its appearance. Once the home of Mr. L.J. Henley, then Mr & Mrs. R. Rennolds, it is now being restored by George Jennings III.
Old Clerk's Office: Court records show that in 1808 there was ordered the building of a "Clerk's Office with walls 1 1/2 brick thick, by 32 by 18 feet, roof covered by slate and to have one room 18 by 22 and the other 18 by 10. The office room to have a floor of brick or stone and the other room planked." One year later an additional chimney was ordered, and the records were ordered to be removed to the new Clerk's Office. (They had been kept at Smithfield by the Clerks Lees).
This building ordered erected at Prince and Cross Streets is still standing; it was used as a Clerk's Office until 1848 when that Office was moved into the new Courthouse; it was used as an ordinary, shop, and strap-lined County Jail. In 1926 the late Mrs. Jessie Ball DuPont, while her husband was renovating the Courthouse, had the jail lining removed and the building renovated. Since that time it has been the Essex County Public Library and now is the Essex County Woman's Club headquarters.