Whitehead-Craik House

By Henry H. Mitchell

House of Laird

The home of John Richard Whitehead and his wife Sallie Graves Whitehead is located at 335 South Main Street in Chatham, Virginia. It was built about 1884 in the Italianate style.

The house was subsequently the home of the families of the original owners' son Walter Whitehead, their great-grandson Fletcher B. Watson, IV, and their great-grandson John Hurt Whitehead, III. During the first century of its existence, it was remodeled with the addition of a Neoclassical facade, which was later simplified somewhat.

In 1987 the house was bought by Ed and Cecile Laird, who created a much more elaborate interior than the original, and constructed a carriage house with upstairs apartment behind the main house, as they rebuilt the home as a luxury bed and breakfast, the “House of Laird.”

The Lairds later gave the property to Chatham Hall prep school, which continued to operate it as a hospitality and meeting facility for the institution to house some teachers and visiting scholars.

The house was purchased at the end of 2005 by Anna Martin Craik, and reopened in March 2006 as the B&B “An Inn for All Seasons” to continue its tradition as an upscale bed & breakfast with Southern hospitality.

2001 Photo

At the time of this 2001 photograph, the House of Laird was owned and operated by Chatham Hall prep school as a hospitality and meeting facility for the institution. The house is still graced by its ca. 1910 two-story portico, but upper- and lower-story porches added at that time were later removed. (This and the above photo are by David L. Mitchell.)

1909 Photo

This photograph of a 1909 Whitehead family reunion hints that the house originally had rather simple Italianate features, including the evident bay window and a modest porch with flat-sawn balusters. (Photo from the collection of Dorothy Whitehead Motley.)

Ca. 1920 Photo

The newly-completed Neoclassical additions of the portico, upper porch, and lower porch are seen in this image, probably from around 1920. Family members are apparently standing at the front door of the house. Shutters seem to be present on the windows on the south (right) side of the house, but not on the front. (Photo from the collection of Dorothy Whitehead Motley.)

Ca. 1935 Photo

Shrubbery and the mature trees near the house are evident in this picture from around 1935. (Photo from the collection of Fletcher B. Watson, IV.)

Ca. 1945 Photo

This photograph, probably taken around 1945, shows that some of the trees have been removed. Close inspection also reveals that the new brick county library building has appeared just to the left of the Whitehead home. The young boy in the foreground is thought to be John Hurt Whitehead, III. (Photo from the collection of Anna Whitehead Kenney.)

Ca. 1984 Photo

This 1984 Whitehead family reunion photograph shows the exterior as it still appears today. Shutters are seen on the upstairs front windows, adding graceful mass to the upper facade in the absence of the porches which once extended across the front. (Photo from the collection of Fletcher B. Watson, IV.)

This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House, Chatham, Virginia.