Restored Historic 1813s Landmark Home To Be Sold at Absolute Auction in Petersburg

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One of the most exciting historical homes we have seen come up for sale in quite some time, and the complete renovation makes it move-in ready for the purchaser.

The historic stone home located at 509 and 511 Plum Street in Petersburg, Virginia will be sold at auction on Saturday June 10, 2006 by The Counts Realty & Auction Group. Auctioneer Ernie Rogers will conduct the absolute auction on site at 11 a.m.

The home is currently owned by the The Honorable David B. and Cynthia Robinson, avid historians who painstakingly restored the property to its original historic integrity and upgraded it to modern standards. As a result, the property was awarded the Historic Petersburg Foundation’s 2004 Restoration Award.

The grounds offer a large private property at almost an acre that would make it an ideal retreat within close proximity to Petersburg, Fort Lee, Richmond and Central Virginia. It sits on a quiet street across from undeveloped land, and features well-established landscaping.

“This is one of the most exciting historical homes we have seen come up for sale in quite some time, and the complete renovation makes it move-in ready for the purchaser,” says Ernie Rogers, auctioneer with The Counts Realty and Auction Group. “With the privacy and quiet offered here, we can see the home being used as a retreat or someone’s private getaway, as well as a historian’s dream home.”


The Plum Street home was built about 1813 by Jacob Luther Clapdore, a Petersburg miller as both his home and office. It was built near the grain mills located along the Appomattox River and its associated canals. A second set of doors on both the front and rear of the house, as well as outlines of walls that existed inside the structure, gives the impression that a portion of the first floor was used as Clapdore’s office.

Clapdore purchased the 90’ x 120’ lot from George and Elizabeth Pegram on January 30, 1811 for $400, as recorded in the Petersburg Deed Book 4 (page 6) on February 5, 1811.

Approximately 125 tons of stone was used to build the walls and was probably carried to the site by unskilled and possibly slave labor by wagon. They were set by skilled stone masons. The bearing walls are all original, except for some reconstruction for purposes of structural integrity, and are built from Appomattox River sandstone. All stones on the home are original.

According to owner David Robinson, “This building was erected in 1813, which makes it the oldest commercial building in either Richmond or Petersburg. The next oldest one is the building in Richmond that houses Julep’s Restaurant, built in 1815.”

“Most of Petersburg was erected of wood structures and a great fire in 1815 destroyed the entire downtown area. What is now the historic downtown district was erected following that,” he continued.

In addition, Plum Street is the only street in the United States that was paved with pink granite. It contains all of its original curbstones, although the granite was covered with asphalt in the 1950s.

The Home

The home at Plum Street is a 20’ x 40’ rectangular stonewall structure with a metal gable roof. Although the property appears to have two stories, it actually has three floors. The 22” walls sit on a 36” foundation four feet below street level. A virtual tour of both inside and outside can be seen at:


All aspects of the property were meticulously restored using period workmanship including the use of historical woodwork salvaged from other Virginia properties and mortar that was duplicated from the original to restore the stonework.

“It was a shell, uninhabitable without electricity, water or sewer,” Robinson explains. “We rebuilt walls, added hand-hewn beams, a new roof, plumbing, electricity, and an innovative interior floor plan without walls to show off the beams and the stone work. We salvaged wood from the roof to use as paneling on the stairway to the loft. Now it has 2100 square feet on the interior.”

David Robinson

David Robinson, CPA, serves as an elected official with Chesterfield County, as its Soil and Water Conservation District Director. In 2003, he sold his accounting practice, and is now working as CFO for Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Botega Bistro, and two other properties.

Robinson credits his love of historical architecture to his great-grandfather Charles M. Robinson, a well-known Petersburg architect who designed the Miller & Rhoads building in 1960, and over 3,000 other buildings, at sites including the University of Richmond, William and Mary University, Radford University, James Madison University, and Mary Washington College.

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