Present Moments with some of your favorite historical authors
The Authors of Writes of Passage
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
This week I’m taking you on another one of my ‘history tours’ that I enjoyed while in West Virginia. For many years I’d heard my sister mention Adaland. In addition to tours of the house and grounds, many weddings and other social events are hosted in the mansion and on the grounds. And since one of her friends is a docent at the mansion, Adaland was on my “to be seen” list. Of course, we wanted to go when her friend, Jada, would provide the tour for us and give us the inside scoop. My expectations were high, and I wasn’t disappointed. The picture at left doesn't do the mansion justice, but it was the best I could do. I should have taken a picture from the back of the house as it would have given you a much better view of the size and beauty of the house and surroundings, but this will have to suffice.
This beautiful land on Fox Grape Run lay idle until purchased by the Modisett family in 1807. Don’t you love the name, Fox Grape Run? When I was little, we visited relatives on Plum Run, but I really like the name Fox Grape Run. Here in Kansas, we have creeks instead of runs, but in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, runs are common usage. Sorry—I got off topic and took you down a bunny trail with me.
The original home was a log structure. It wasn’t until 1868 that construction of this Greek Revival Mansion was begun by one of the Modisett sons. Until the acreage was sold to Judge Robinson in 1920, it was known as the Modisett farm. After purchasing the home and property, judge began renovations and renamed it for his wife, Ada Sinsel Robinson.
We enjoyed a wonderful tour of the home, and Jada played the psaltery for us. I gave it a try and thought I might purchase one—then I decided it would have to wait until I had a little more time. But one of these days…
I included this ‘picture of a picture’ that hangs in the dining room of Adaland because the young couple, Phoebe Pullison and Arlie Woodford, are the great-great-grandparents of my niece (mother of the cute banana-stand kiddos from last week). Arlie was the overseer at Adaland and he and Phoebe were the first couple to be married in the mansion. Of course, I thought that was really neat!
A good portion of the land was eventually sold to coal companies and the mansion was even used as office space. Can you imagine something so beautiful and historic being turned into a coal mining office? Eventually, in order to preserve the historic significance of the property, the house, barn, carriagehouse and about twenty acres were signed over to the City of Philippi and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovations have been significant and costly, but well worth the time, effort and money. Adaland is a true jewel. If you ever find yourself near Fox Grape Run—stop in and have a glass of sweet tea and listen to the magical music of a psaltery. You’ll enjoy the step back in time.