Visit the showplace home of "A Virginian of Virginians" which changed the face of the town from modest colonial and cottage houses.
Standing proudly on a
corner edge of
(Pictured: Isle of Wight
Historical Society member in period attire as
The couple who built the home, Richard (R. S.) and
Doris Gwaltney, celebrated author, at her book signing on Patriots' Day - published body of work includes a biography of ancestor George Purdie, the lot's first occupant.
-- In 1995 Sala Clark found out that the 1889 Victorian landmark she was lovingly restoring, the largest house built downtown before the turn of the century, had been nicknamed “the mansion on Main (Street).” Thus, the Mansion on Main Bed & Breakfast was christened. Attorney and town historian R. S. Thomas, who had the showpiece home built to house his office, made his own discovery about its significance on the corner edge of colonial roads. As St. Luke Church's (c.1632 national shrine) "recorder" Thomas learned that a vestrymen in the 1750s, Jordan Thomas, was not only his ancestor but also the county surveyor who mapped out Smithfield's first streets.
Although Sala Clark did not live to see the restoration completed, her vision and efforts resurrected a place that offers the romantic beauty of a bygone era. The Mansion was the first house in the Historic District to return to authentic "Painted Lady" splendor. The museum-like interior retains original marble finish fireplaces and heart pine floors and is resplendent with furnishings dating from the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Extensive intricate handcarved woodwork crafted by European artisans is exhibited in plaster crown moldings and medallions, a grand staircase, pocket doors, and wainscoting. --