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Traveller’s Rest


Traveller’s Rest is a handsome limestone house located in Jefferson County. It was designated a National Historic Landmark because of its association with Gen. Horatio Gates of the Revolutionary War. The house is a testament to the sturdy building practices of its time and place. It is one of the few documented works of John Ariss, a noted 18th-century architect and builder who is also credited with Col. Samuel Washington’s Eastern Panhandle home, Harewood.

When Gates purchased the property early in 1773, only the eastern portion of the house, raised on a high English basement and with an asymmetrical entrance, was built. Surviving correspondence from August 1773 proves that Gates commissioned Ariss to embellish it with paneling, cornices, and mantels. Gates had little time to enjoy his new home, as his service in the Revolution kept him constantly on the move. He was, however, able to return from time to time, and the name he gave the place indicates how much he enjoyed his sojourns there. At some time, likely after the war, he enlarged Traveller’s Rest, making the facade symmetrical on each side of the entry. Inside, the addition created an additional large room on each floor. Although the house was a story and a half tall from the beginning, the dormer windows that now light the top floor postdate Gates’s ownership.

Standing at the end of a private lane off Jefferson County Route 1/1, southwest of Kearneysville, Traveller’s Rest is privately owned. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972.

Written by S. Allen Chambers Jr.