A Journal of Enon Hall

The Old House Web

Bill Chapman
Bill Chapman, ad agency president Monday through Friday, and restorer of the family ancestral home on weekends. Shown here with some tools of the trade -- a good respirator and a crow bar.

Bill and Gay Chapman have purchased Bill's ancestral home, Enon Hall, a four-acre estate in Lancaster County, Virginia. They bought the house without first seeing the inside. As a condition of the sale, the elderly owner was given lifetime tenancy.

For the past year, Bill Chapman has kept a careful journal of his purchase and restoration of Enon Hall. The journal serves partly as a restoration diary, but also fosters genealogical research. Since going online a year ago, Bill has had contact with 14 previously unknown Hathaway descendants.

Here are excerpts from his journal.

<a href="[removed]onClick=openImageWindow('/imagesvr_ce/stories/bitmaps/10091/june1985.jpg', 'location=no,toolbar=false,status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,width=500,height=450,resizable=yes,top=50,left=50')">Enon Hall
Enon Hall, a lifelong quest.

<a href="[removed]onClick=openImageWindow('/imagesvr_ce/stories/bitmaps/10091/diggingwalkbk.jpg', 'location=no,toolbar=false,status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,width=500,height=450,resizable=yes,top=50,left=50')">brick walk
Even after closing on the sale, the Chapmans waited to see the inside of Enon Hall. They spent much of the fall on outdoor projects, such as uncovering this brick walkway.

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The view of the back yard, including the family cemetery and a boat dock on the Antipoison Creek. Rebuilding the dock was a fall project.

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The Chapmans were told that the inside of Enon Hall "just needs painting." The inside needed more than that, as seen from this bathroom, but was in remarkably good shape.

<a href="[removed]onClick=openImageWindow('/imagesvr_ce/stories/bitmaps/10091/law.jpg', 'location=no,toolbar=false,status=no,menubar=no,scrollbars=yes,width=500,height=450,resizable=yes,top=50,left=50')">law office
The law office, with beadboard ceiling.

(Click on pictures for larger view.)

July 25, 1999
Tomorrow is the big day. We will close on Enon Hall at 4:00, ending what has been a very long process.

July 26, 1999
We closed on Enon Hall today! Gay and I decided that it seemed kind of anti-climatic since we weren't able to leave closing and go run through the house like we normally would. Instead we just drove by it on our way back home. Guess that's one of the trade-offs of buying a home with a life estate for the former owner.

August 1999
The Hayden's executor was there today, continuing the massive clean up process. When I first talked to her over a year ago, she didn't understand why we wanted to buy the place and declared that we would need to just "tear it down."

Funny, she seems to be falling for the old place as she spends more time there. She made several positive comments about beautiful woodwork and a wonderful setting. Although she does say that she keeps a pitchfork with her as she goes though the house, in case she runs into anything "wild."

September 1999
Got another tiny peek inside the house yesterday. Spoke with Mr. Hayden (elderly owner) for a few minutes in the kitchen. This is the small addition by the carport. I couldn't take in too much because I had my prescription sunglasses on and the room was kind of dark, but I came away thinking it wasn't as bad as I might have expected.

Also picked up a few more tidbits from Mr. Bobby Ball who has been staying with Mr. Hayden and watching the house. He swears the inside just needs painting and then we'll be all set. Of course, he also says that the outside "just needs a little buttering up." Hmmmm...

He says Walter Hathaway's law office (second floor room of the 19th century addition) has a beadboard ceiling, says the bedrooms are "charming," and the dining room is beautiful. His least favorite room is the parlor...which is another room I saw 3 years ago. He also said he thought the house "rambles nicely."

For instance, the law office is only reached through one of the bedrooms. This also tells us that there is no staircase in the addition. The clues keep trickling in!

Signed the contract to have the dock rebuilt.

To Next Part of this Journal->
To Introduction and other parts of this story->
To Bill Chapman's Enon Hall Web Site->

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