— circa 1847 —
American Gothic ...attributed to architect James Renwick who designed the Fredericksburg Courthouse.
When built this middle class property comprised 1/4 of the present city block and contained enough pasture for one COW. House had no indoor toilets in 1847.
The lowest level—"the carriage level"—has a fireplaced kitchen. All cooking was done in the huge FIREPLACE. There was no kitchen stove. Also on the "carriage level" is a fireplaced utility room and quarters for the TWO SLAVES who were purchased at public auction within this block on Charles St.
House was designed with 4 EXTERIOR DOORS. The 2 doors on the lowest level, one on the north side and one on the south side, allowed for summer cooling by cross ventilation. On the upper level, where the owners lived, there are also two exterior doors reserved for the owners and gentry.
Thanks to Mrs. Kathryn Booth for her love for this historic property. Through her determination she has restored the 4th EXTERIOR DOOR (to your lower right) who stares originally went directly to this street—Charles St. When the city put in sidewalks and lifestyles changed and full time help was not required to run this house, the original lower door to your right was bricked up and a window was put in its place.
To your left on Amelia Street is where the steps to the main entrance used to begin. When the present double symmetrical steps were put in to allow for sidewalk construction, a town official stopped by to ask the lady owner if she had obtained "town permission" for changing her front steps. Whereupon she made her famous reply, "You go home and take care of your front steps and I'll take care of mine."