Standing contentedly at the western edge of Ansted, this one-story house, fronted by a wide, comfortable porch, recalls cottage rows at many antebellum springs resorts. The resemblance is not coincidental. Built about 1830, the house stood close to the James River & Kanawha Turnpike (now U.S. 60), which also passed by White Sulphur Springs. Due to the slope of the land, rear rooms are at a slightly higher level than those in front, and are reached by several steps in the hall, an early instance of a ‘‘split level’’ arrangement.
In 1874, Col. George Imboden, who had traversed the area earlier as a Confederate officer, bought the house, added two rooms on the western end, and lengthened the porch. Imboden and David T. Ansted, an English geologist, were instrumental in opening coal mines in Fayette County, and when the settlement near the house was incorporated as a town in 1891 it was named for Ansted, with Imboden the first mayor. Imboden’s second wife gave their home the name Contentment.
The Fayette County Historical Society maintains the house, which is furnished in period antiques, as the centerpiece of a museum complex open in summer months. Contentment was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Read the National Register nomination.
This Article was written by S. Allen Chambers Jr.
Last Revised on January 24, 2013