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November 24, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

The Culbreth Hotel


“The Culbreth Hotel”

Photo Courtesy Ernest Wright and A Pictorial History of the Town of Dillwyn, VA

According to The Courthouse Burned — by Margaret A. Pennington and Lorna S. Scott, Mrs. Patty Pryor was the first proprietress of the original Old Dominion Inn. That building burned to the ground and the white clapboard house pictured above was built in its place on Main Street in Dillwyn, Buckingham County.  Miss Dolly Hooper became the proprietress of the new Old Dominion Inn. On December 16, 1903, she married Mr. Henry Clay Culbreth, a Maryland native and fruit broker, who spent much of the year in Florida.

By June of 1908 (and likely before), Dolly’s establishment was known as the Culbreth Hotel when the following was mentioned in Richmond’s The Times Dispatch:

Miss Sara Page is the guest of Mrs. E.L. Driscoll at Culbreth, Dillwyn, Va.

On the 1910 Federal census, Dolly’s home was described as a boarding house. Mary Chambers was Dolly’s live-in cook. Mrs. Culbreth also employed a butler, Grant Logan, and a maid, Carrie Spencer, to serve her customers.

The family pictured in the postcard above is believed to be Dolly, her husband, and children. She and Mr. Culbreth had three children: Harry (born 1904), Jim (born 1907), and Frances (born November 1912). If Frances is in the baby buggy, the photo was taken about 1913.

In 1932, Mrs. H. M. Culbreth was listed with Mrs. F. S. Spencer and Mrs. Gladys Camden as a contributor to The Farmville Herald. Her grand-nephew, Harry S. Holman, remembers her as a regal and well-educated woman, fully capable of sending articles to the newspaper while tending to her guests at the Culbreth Hotel.


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Nov 25 2014 11:34 am

    Hal, I don’t know know the fate of the house. Perhaps another Slate River Ramblings reader will comment!

    • Hal Coleman / Nov 25 2014 12:54 pm

      Thanks, Joanne. I was just curious as it appeared to have been located in fairly close proximity to Dr. Mitchell’s house which my mom saw burn down from her upstairs bedroom window. Mitchell street joins into Culbreth.

      • Joanne Yeck / Nov 25 2014 4:17 pm

        Let’s hope someone knows!

  2. Hal Coleman / Nov 24 2014 5:32 pm

    Does anyone know the eventual fate of the “Culbreth” house?

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