Turning off of Warrenton-Embro road, visitors enter Elgin through a pair of white wooden columns and wrought iron gates and start down a half-mile long gravel driveway. A little over halfway down the driveway is an old tenant cabin, a reminder of Elgin’s long history. The driveway passes through a row of tall American hollies before opening onto a wide front circle that leads to the main residence.
Behind the main home and to the left sit the garage, circa 1790 cottage, barn, and several small farm buildings. Nearby are two spring-fed ponds that are perfect for family gatherings, fishing, and swimming. Stretching outward from the center of the property are 120+/- cultivated acres, which are leased on a year-to-year basis and planted in a rotation of soybeans and tobacco.
Small blocks of hardwoods are disbursed throughout the 300 acres, with a large block of pine situated in the southern portion of the property. East of the pines are approximately 50 acres of timber that were harvested seven years ago. This area is now in the early successional stage and serves as excellent wildlife habitat, with the potential to become a valuable component of a larger wildlife management plan.
Main House: Built over an English basement, the ground floor is reached via a short flight of stairs that welcomes visitors onto a Tuscan columned front porch. Through the front door is a gracious entry hall, behind which are a pair of matching drawing rooms that are currently used as the living room and dining room. The majority of the ground floor features 14-foot ceilings, intricate woodworking, and moldings that the National Register of Historic Places describes as “elegant, inventively handled Federal details.”
Beyond the living and dining rooms sits the original service wing, since renovated into a family room and modern eat-in kitchen. The newest addition, completed in 2016, is accessed off of the kitchen and features a large, single-bay garage with an upstairs guest suite. Also accessed off of the kitchen is a deep side porch that overlooks the surrounding yard and landscape. On the second floor of the house is the master suite and a large guest room. There are two additional rooms that are currently utilized as a walk-in closet and partial guest room but could easily be converted into a fourth bedroom and bathroom.
Recent improvements are extensive and include a standing seam roof, backup generator, and geothermal heat pump. The owners also excavated and waterproofed the original foundation. Two elevators were installed, adding to the list of modern features seamlessly integrated within the surrounding historical context. All renovations were completed under the guidance of Preservation North Carolina, ensuring the work met the highest standards of historical preservation and craftsmanship.
Guest Cottage / Office: Adjacent to the main house is the oldest building on the property, a two-over-two cottage built in 1790 and fully restored by the owners in 2016. In addition to thoroughly renovating and modernizing the structure, two flanking chimneys and fireplaces that had been removed by previous owners were rebuilt, thus returning the building to its original form. The renovation of this structure was painstakingly detailed, as each roof shingle was hand cut to ensure historical accuracy. The cottage is currently used as a home office but would also make an excellent guest house.
Garage: Situated between the cottage and main house is a detached, three-bay garage with an upstairs bedroom, bathroom, and living space. This too underwent substantial repairs and provides ample space for storing vehicles, ATVs, and recreational equipment.
Barn: A six-stall, center aisle barn was added to the property in the 1980s and blends in effortlessly with the rest of the property. A practical, four-paddock layout complements the barn and could easily be expanded if desired. A turnout for horses is conveniently located just a short walk from the house.
Elgin was built by Peter Mitchell, who emigrated to Virginia in 1797 before later moving to Warrenton. The land Elgin sits on was a wedding gift in 1827 from his father-in-law, and Mitchell named the property after his family’s hometown in Scotland. Construction of the house began in 1832 and was completed five years later. Originally comprised of 650 acres, Mitchell quickly grew the plantation to over 2,000 acres.
Later, during Reconstruction, the Mitchells moved their interests to Tennessee, and Elgin was sold to the Crinkley family, who moved to North Carolina from Canada after purchasing the property. Under the Crinkleys’ ownership, Elgin again flourished, and became home to a variety of industries, including sawmills, cotton production and ginning, and sheep.
Although the Elgin of today inhabits a smaller footprint, signs of its rich history abound. Walking into the entry hall that has greeted visitors for nearly 200 years, one cannot help but feel the strong sense of place and stewardship that Elgin’s owners have imbued in the property over the years.
Elgin consists of 300+/- acres. The property’s acreage breaks down as follows:
120+/- acres – Agricultural (soybeans and tobacco)
100+/- acres – Mixed hardwoods and pine
50+/- acres – Early successional habitat
30+/- acres – Other uses (building sites, ponds, paddocks, etc.)
Annual property taxes are approximately $12,000. The property is not under conservation easement and potential tax benefits exist for a future owner looking to pursue a conservation agenda.