I was recently invited to have a lunch date with some friends and co-workers at Adaland a Victorian mansion high on a hill in Barbour County, West Virginia. The historic register mansion is a pre-civil war home, built-in 1870, that has been restored and is now open to the public. The Adaland Mansion received its name when Federal Judge Ira E. Robinson bought the home in the 1920’s and renamed the property after his beloved wife Ada Sinsel. It is in her honor that the home has become one of the regions most loved locations for weddings and fine events.
The 13 volunteer caretakers of the home and acreage offer seasonal home tours, high tea’s, theater performance and lunch buffet to tour guests and families who rent the home and pavilion for special events. The home’s history is long and well documented. Even at one time-serving as a coal mine superintendent’s home and engineering office. Anker Energy company was the last owner of the property before donation to the City of Philippi in 1996. At that time, the house was ready to be razed, the barn had collapsed, the land was overgrown and the farm was generally forgotten.It took a dedicated group of volunteers to begin the restoration of the home and do the fund-raising necessary for the project.
I was taken back by the quality of the restoration and the amazing luck that most of the historic detail of the home had remained.The black walnut trim and paneling in the house are original and were produced on the farm.The bricks from the house were also formed and fired at the farm property. The furnishings are mostly donated from the local community and the decor was researched and replaced to the correct time period and installation method. The experience is time traveling back to a more elegant and formal way of life. The home originally housed servants (at least three at a time) and has servants quarters and an additional kitchen in the basement. Adaland was also a way-station for travelers so the house plans included a bedroom just for them, with a separate entrance for people traveling the Staunton-Parkersburg turnpike near Philippi. Here a rider could get out of the cold, get a hot meal and sleep in safety while in one of the mansion’s bedrooms. There is also a large and grand lawyers office next to the travelers room, both are on the main floor and I wondered how many times the Judges clients traveled from all over the state to see him and stayed in the little room next door to his office. The office holds many of the books and documents that Judge Robinson used while serving the people of West Virginia.
We eat a lovely meal that I wished I had photographed, but it was just plain rude to take photos at the table while we enjoyed the company of friends and co-workers. The meal included a garden salad, BB-Q pulled pork, roasted chicken, home-made bread, corn, bake beans, mix vegetables, boiled potatoes and desert of many kinds. I chose a serving of peach cobbler with whipped cream. It was wonderful, fresh and homemade in the kitchen of the house.
Our tour shared lots of information about the families who lived and died on the farm over the century. There is a small cemetery on the property,and barn that is open to visitors. The barn also hosts historical demonstrations of trades that took place in the early 1900’s when events are held.Visitors are also encouraged to explore the 22 acres that the house still sits on today.
The outdoor pavilion is a new addition to the property and is the main location for weddings and family events during the summer months. Making Adaland a perfect location for large groups and a place where a bride and groom can stay away from the hectic pace of town and sleep in historic bedrooms before, during and after a wedding.
I hope to return to Adaland over the summer to see one of their Murder Mystery Dinners. Events sell out quickly and reservations are needed to have a meal at an event. Their website includes an event calender for the full year so visitors have pleanty of time to stop in. It was wonderful to stop my hecktec day and slow down to relax and enjoy this very unique home. I hope you enjoy a visit too.
The Civil War was 1861 to 1865, so if the house was built in 1870, it is not “pre-Civil War.” Lovely pictures!