In one of Fredericksburg’s most historic neighborhoods—and next door to the Kenmore mansion—is 610 Lewis St., the classic 1928 home of late Free Lance–Star Publisher Josiah P. Rowe III and Anne W. Rowe.
Built by prolific Fredericksburg builder E.G. “Peck” Heflin, the Flemish bond brick house, with surrounding low brick wall, has a wide and welcoming front porch with a front-facing gable. It has what is probably a Virginia slate roof, three front-facing dormers and symmetrical brick chimneys at each end. Along with a front door with filigreed sidelights and arched transom, the house has a surplus of curb appeal.
Now that the family has cleared out the house, the search is on to find its next stewards. It has been listed with Suzy Stone of Century 21 Redwood Realty in Fredericksburg. The asking price is $1.65 million. The price includes the adjacent lot to the rear of the house at 1110 Douglas St., which extends behind the neighboring Lewis Street properties to the Washington Avenue alley and includes a detached one-car garage.
Jeanette Cadwallender, one of the Rowes’ daughters, said in a telephone interview that the house was a wonderful place to grow up. “My parents were so generous in sharing it, with all the parties and family celebrations,” she said. “We hope the next owners love the house the way we did and make their own memories.”
She added that the home was open for Historic Fredericksburg Foundation Candlelight Tours and a Virginia Garden Week tour, events that represented causes dear to her parents and reflected their community spirit.
The house has 5,466 square feet of living space on three levels, plus an unfinished basement of more than 1,400 square feet. There are 10-foot ceilings throughout. It is listed with six bedrooms, four full bathrooms and three half-baths. The finished square footage includes a two-story addition that was built in 1997. Some remodeling of the original portion of the house was done at the same time.
The high level of trim and attention to detail is evident upon entering the foyer. The trim throughout, from the dentil crown molding to carved fireplace mantels, remains crisp and highly detailed. Thanks to the quality of construction, the floors, plaster walls, and door and window frames are all perfectly square—virtually like new. The shutter cranks even work smoothly.
The nostalgic feel of the house is enhanced by the radiators in each room that continue to serve as the home’s main source of heat. Central air conditioning was retrofitted some time ago. An elevator from the basement to the second level was installed during the 1997 remodel.
To the left of the foyer is the living room, with a fireplace and a wood-paneled den or home office behind it. To the right of the foyer is the dining room, with matching fireplace. The foyer and two formal rooms are each graced with their original crystal chandeliers.
Behind the dining room is the kitchen, which was remodeled during the addition project of 1997 and has appliances from that period. The kitchen features Corian counters and an island with prep sink. There are plenty of cream-colored cabinets with both glass and solid fronts.
The main level of the addition at the rear of the house has a bi-level family room and gathering area with wet bar, tile floor and french door access to the outside. There’s a back stairway here for easy access to the new master suite that is the upper-level of the addition.
The master suite has a soaring cathedral ceiling and a pair of large walk-in closets. Symmetrical doors in the bedroom open to outdoor balconies on the rear of the house. The master bathroom features separate vanities, tub, shower and heated towel racks.
Also on this level are three additional bedrooms, including the original master suite and two secondary bedrooms that share a hall bathroom.
Up one more flight is the converted attic that was finished off with two bedrooms and a full bathroom. Each bedroom features a pair of quarter-round windows that flank the brick chimneys on the home’s exterior. Cadwallender recalls the space being fun to share with her sister, now Florence Barnick.
The unfinished basement is full of possibilities for future remodeling as recreation areas. A utility room holds a boiler for the radiator heat and a device called a “chiller” that provides central air conditioning.
The surrounding grounds are filled with mature trees, hedges and landscaping.
91 YEARS OF HISTORY
The house happens to have been built in 1928, the same year Josiah Rowe III was born. But he wouldn’t live there until he and his wife bought the place in 1960.
The Lewis Street lot was once part of Fielding Lewis’s Kenmore plantation that was sold off to pay his debts and eventually subdivided after his death in 1781.
By the time the 1920s came along, the property had various small structures built on it. They were taken down when the lot was purchased by successful local businessman John W. Masters, who wanted to build what would be his dream home there.
Masters, who had married in 1892, became a widower in 1924, remarried in 1926, and moved into his new Heflin-built home in 1928, at age 73. He died unexpectedly just a year later, leaving the house to his widow, Edna Fitzhugh (Richards) Master, and the rest of his estate to his two children from his first marriage.
The house then passed from Edna Masters to her son from a previous marriage, Mason Richards, who sold it to the Rowes in 1960.