The venerable home at 406 Hanover St., known as the Hurkamp House, is a prime example of historic Fredericksburg real estate that blends classic mid-19th century design with careful renovations that provide the comforts of modern living.
Current owners Ken and Kathleen Fortune have made upgrades and kept the house and grounds impeccably maintained during their 10 years of ownership, but give credit for the home’s major renovation to previous owners Doug and Cathy Stewart, who bought it in 1999. It was during that project that many improvements, including the addition of central heating and air conditioning, were completed.
Now, the Fortunes are looking to consolidate their lives and have placed 406 Hanover on the market. They’ve listed it with Charlotte Rouse of Coldwell Banker Elite in Fredericksburg. The asking price for the house, which was built in 1848, is $1.848 million.
The house has 7,300 square feet of living space on three levels and is listed with six bedrooms, four full bathrooms and a half bath.
The house was built as the manse, or parsonage, for ministers of the Presbyterian Church in Fredericksburg. In October 1862, not long before the Battle of Fredericksburg, it was purchased by John G. Hurkamp and remained in his family for generations until 1978. Hurkamp Park on William Street is named after him.
As the Civil War enveloped Fredericksburg and the surrounding area, Hurkamp, a German–American entrepreneur, lived in his home’s basement while the rest of the house was occupied as a Union headquarters by Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick. Sedgwick would later be killed by sniper fire at the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.
Information about the house and its history was compiled in the early 1990s by assistant professor Gary Stanton at the Center for Historic Preservation at then-Mary Washington College in cooperation with Patricia Kent for the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation’s marker program.
The original house was basic Federal style with a flat front and the three symmetrical windows across the second story. The bricks on the façade were laid in Flemish bond. In the early 1870s, Hurkamp built the side addition, offset slightly from the original façade and differentiated by a standard American bond brick pattern and the main-level bay window.
Hurkamp also added the front porch at that time with Ionic columns and dentil molding along the roof line, giving the house a Greek revival-style look. The roof is standing-seam copper.
The wrought-iron porch railing and fence around the front yard were also added by Hurkamp, whose name is inscribed on the front gate along with the date 1886, the year he died. The ironwork was forged at Hope Foundry, which operated at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets.
Word has it that a similar fence once surrounded Hurkamp Park, but during World War I it was donated to the war effort, melted down and recycled into ammunition.
Herringbone brick pathways surround the house and lead to the front steps and porch, which were replaced by the Fortunes.
The main entry with transom opens to a foyer where the home’s original heart pine floors and 11-foot ceilings are evident. To the left are the living room and the study behind it, separated by massive pocket doors.
These rooms include two of the home’s dozen fireplaces and detailed trim, such as dentil crown molding and hand-carved flower rosettes at the corners of door and window frames. The rosettes are called “paterae,” which is Latin for “to lie open.”
To the right of the foyer is the 1870s addition, which holds the dining room and kitchen behind it. In the dining room is an antique wardrobe, and on the inside of the wardrobe door is a handwritten note by Hurkamp’s wife, Elizabeth, that was written in 1872. The note expresses Elizabeth’s disappointment that upon her return from a trip to Germany, the work on the addition, where the wardrobe now sits, was still not complete, as she apparently believed it should have been.
The kitchen was completely remodeled by the Stewarts in the early 2000s and updated more recently by the Fortunes. It has a marble-topped island added by the Fortunes and the original marble fireplace. Other counters are black granite, which contrast with the off-white cabinetry. Stainless steel appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator and six-burner Viking range.
The main front portion of the house was connected to a former freestanding servants’ quarters by a hallway or “hyphen” that Hurkamp added. Former owner and local artist Betsy Glassie restored that room for use as her art studio, adding skylights to increase the amount of natural light in the room. The original brick walls were left exposed, as were the beams that cross the ceiling.
A breakfast area addition was built by the Stewarts behind the kitchen that expanded the original hallway and fully connected the home’s front and rear portions. A rear porch the Stewarts added was redone with maintenance-free materials by the Fortunes.
Halfway up the stairs to the second story is a guest suite with bathroom situated above the hallway to the servants’ quarters. The substantial door to the suite includes a pair of stained-glass panes that Hurkamp brought to the house from Germany.
On the main upper level are three bedrooms, including the large and comfortable master suite. During their renovation, the Stewarts sacrificed a bedroom to create a new master bathroom with marble vanity and floor and space for a large walk-in closet. The bedroom doors have operating transoms to allow air to circulate
Also upstairs is a hidden, “secret” passageway to neighboring 408 Hanover St., which was also built in 1848. The two properties have never been owned by the same person, and the reason for the properties’ connection remains a mystery.
It’s no surprise that the home’s basement is an interesting space as well. It includes a bar with sink, appliances and adjacent recreation area, both of which have pressed copper ceilings and painted brick foundation walls.
Also down there are two rooms set up as offices that could become bedrooms, plus a laundry room with folding counter and sink.
There are exquisite gardens at the front, side and to the rear of the house.
Out front, passersby can’t miss the cannon that Fortune put there amid the yard full of hydrangeas and other plantings.
To the side is a formal boxwood garden created by internationally renowned landscape gardener Phillip Watson of Falmouth while Glassie owned the house.
In the private backyard are older boxwood hedges along with various shrubs and ornamentals along brick and paver walkways.
Directly behind the house is a vacant lot that fronts on Charlotte Street. It has long been owned by the series of owners of 406 Hanover St. and is used by the Fortunes for off-street parking. It is for sale at an additional negotiable price, but cannot be sold separately.