Historic House

Despite the cultural, social, and commercial opportunities New York offered, the city was not acceptable to Gari Melchers as a year-round place of residence. He needed a home and a studio in an undeveloped area to be close to the rural subject matter that he had always favored. Melchers was, no doubt, already looking for a country estate in 1916 when a Detroit architect, Frank Baldwin, who owned the Snowden estate in Fredericksburg, suggested that he consider Belmont. The artist must have been impressed by the picturesque site of this eighteenth-century Georgian home perched on a ridge overlooking the falls of the Rappahannock River in Falmouth, Virginia. Good rail service to New York satisfied an important practical consideration. Consequently, he purchased Belmont, acquiring the deed to the house and property in September 1916. Melchers was not the first owner to enlarge the house at Belmont, but his alteration was unique, for it expressed in architectural terms his long-standing fascination with light. The artist added the five-sided sun porch that now graces the southern side of the house. This luminous alcove boasts six expansive arched windows and a set of glass doors that open into a broad lawn. MORE

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