The oldest portion of Berry Hill, an imposing red brick home overlooking the town of Orange, was built around 1820 by Reynolds Chapman, who married Rebecca Conway Madison, daughter of William Madison. In 1851 the house was acquired by John J. Berry, who sold it three years later to Joseph H. Johnson. It has remained in the family, and in the 1970's was still owned by Mrs. Rowland F. Hill Jr., a granddaughter of Joseph Johnson.
Similarities to pavillions at the University of Virginia and to Monticello indicate the Berry Hill may have been disigned by Jefferson. Both exterior and interior walls are of brick, all a foot thick, resulting in deep-set windows and doors. The deep single story portico across the front has brick pillars forming three arches. The sprial stair in the back hall is narrow like those at Monticello, and the marble mantel in the parlor is identical to one at Montpelier.
Berry Hill has never been remodeled, but rooms were added above the arcade, a servants' wing and kitchen were added in 1915, and at that time four end windows in the main portion were bricked in.
Th the rear of the house is a fragrant informal garden with brick walkways and a reflecting pool.
"Old Virginia Houses - The Piedmont" Copyright 1975
By: Emmie Ferguson Farrar and Emilee Hines Cantieri
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