A Picture And A Note From The Stafford County Historical Society
Dear Ms. Amy, (I am omitting my last name)
Attached is a picture of the old Boscobel house before the Hurkamps "modernized" it. If you compare it to the postcard/photograph done during the Hurkamp ownership, you'll see that the downstairs windows and doors remain in their same positions. Hurkamp made the building a full two-stories and added the rather Victorian looking porch adornment. I'm afraid I don't know about subsequent houses on this site. You might ask D. P. Newton if he remembers the later house(s) on the site. He's at the White Oak Civil War Museum.
Wow! Finally we get to see what the original Boscobel house looked like! Our home, built in the late 1950's was built on the foundation of the house in the picture above. Naturally, we have wondered what the old Boscobel house looked like. What I notice immediately is that there seems to be a shake roof on the house, with a metal roof on the porch. I am drawn immediately to the trees. Since this is a very old property, many of the original trees survive here. I will be looking closely to see which ones I can identify in this picture. This will give us an idea of how the original house was oriented. In a description at the turn of the 19th century, the house was said to be located in a "grove" of trees and had a circular driveway.
Our home now, has a circular driveway and I am sure it is in the same grove of trees. Knowing that the Hurkamps enlarged the second story after they acquired the property in 1901, and that modern photography became popular no earlier than 1839, I would say this image has to fall within that time frame. Given that there is a gentleman in the photograph, I would omit the Civil War Years (1861-1865).
My best guess is that this photograph was taken some time between 1839 and 1861. More towards 1861 as the modern version of photography was just getting its start in 1839. That is my best guess...based on a few minutes worth of research.
The most exciting aspect is that this is what the house would have looked like when it served as Daniel Sickles Headquarters and subsequently what it looked like when Abraham Lincoln visited on April 7, 1863.
Do you know anything more about Boscobel? Do you live on/in a historic property? Let us know in the comments below.
Hi! I'm Amy. I am a former commercial photographer who has lived all over the world and finally landed in my happy place - Historic Boscobel Farm. I love living beautifully in the country, and sharing my favorite things. Follow me on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter to keep updated.