This private home, traditionally called “The Oaks,” was built around 1832 by Dr. Robert Coles, a cousin of first lady Dolley Madison. He wanted his new house to be situated in a grove of oak trees, which, inconveniently, was the location of the main road north from the town. He petitioned the court to allow him to move the road several yards away; as a result, North Main Street now curves in a wide sweep around the west side of the property.
Subsequent owners have included Judge George Gilmer, Edwin S. Reid, Ray M. Harris, and Mr. and Mrs. Henry Hurt.
The house was built in the Federal style, with an English (partially above-ground) basement. A large porch has replaced the smaller original portico, and an addition was built on the back in the early 1900's.
For further information, see:
Note: Dr. Robert Coles was a brother of James M. Whittle's first wife, Mary Coles.
Fitzgerald: Pittsylvania: Homes and People of the Past
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Copyright © 1999–2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.