Home | Whats New | Site Index | Search

Newtown Historic District

Staunton City, Augusta County, VA

The Newtown Historic District [†] in Staunton is located to the west of the city’s downtown Beverley and Wharf historic districts. It encompasses approximately 161 acres and includes the campus of Stuart Hall School, the historic block of Trinity Episcopal Church, and the magnificent grounds of Thornrose Cemetery. In 1787, Alexander St. Clair deeded 25 acres of his land to the growing village of Staunton. It is in this portion of the district where most of the late 18th- and early 19th-century structures, as well as the larger residences, are located. Most of the remaining land in the district was added in the large annexation of 1860, but the westernmost part of Beverley Street was added in the annexation of 1905. These areas of the district are largely composed of homes built between 1870 and 1920 during Staunton’s boom years to house the city’s rapidly growing population. The Newtown Historic District contains two sites and some 414 buildings of which the vast majority are two-story, detached frame or brick buildings of similar scale.

Despite the steep hills that characterize the area, most of the streets conform to the grid pattern laid out in 1787. With few exceptions, the blocks in between consist of neat rows of detached houses on city lots of all sizes. The individual lawns account for most of the landscaping since there are few street trees in this district. All the streets are now asphalt-paved, but in some areas, the old limestone curbs and the brick sidewalks remain. Topographically, the district is hilly in nature, with the highest elevation being at the north end of Jefferson Street where the town’s reservoir was once located.

The housing in Newtown spans a period over 150 years, and despite this long period of growth, the entire district presents a remarkably unified appearance and has a strong sense of neighborhood cohesion. This is due to several contributing factors, including the similarity of scale, style, and materials of the dwellings as well as the size of the city lots. Styles range from Neo-Classical and Greek Revival to Gothic Revival, Eastlake, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival, but the bulk of the buildings display Italianate characteristics or are vernacular houses.

Predominant materials are frame—with a variety of sidings such as beaded or German—and brick. A few structures were covered with stucco in the 1930s and ‘40s; others have been covered with asbestos shingles or aluminum siding, which detracts from their original appearance.

A significant example of late 18th-century architecture is the Stuart House (1791), the home of Judge Archibald Stuart who also donated land for the Stuart Addition neighborhood.

Newtown also contains several important structures that reflect Staunton’s position as a flourishing educational center of the 19th century. Three prominent girls’ schools were located in the district, one of which survives today as Stuart Hall School. Staunton’s first permanent public school building is also located in the district.

Staunton Virginia: Historic District Guidelines, 2018, www.historicstaunton.org, accessed June, 2021.

Street Names
Baldwin Street • Beverly Street West • Federal Street • Fillmore Street • Frederick Street West • Jefferson Street North • Johnson Street West • Kinzley Court • Lewis Street North • Madison Street North • Montgomery Avenue • Saint Clair Street North