Cole Digges House
Historic Structures Report
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Photograph 1: View northwest along Main Street, with Custom House to left and Charles Cox and Coles Diggs houses on the right. Winter of 1863, during Union occupation but apparently before the Swan Tavern blew up. Said to be a Mathew Brady photo. Right (southeast gable) and the exterior chimney centered on it as well as the centered left (northwest) chimney are visible behind the Cox House. This may be the only known photo showing the old right chimney. The house shows a fresh coat of white paint, or more likely, whitewash, at this time.

Photograph 2: Cook Collection photo (from Valentine Museum, Richmond) looking northwest along Main Street, with the river visible in the distance. Possibly c. 1865-75 because the small frame house in right foreground beside the Charles Cox House appears well maintained, and this building was already deteriorating when a piece of it was shown in a sketch of a similar view published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, November 1, 1879. The photo shows the Cox and Digges houses freshly painted. There is a glazed door in the right front corner (southwest end of southeast wall) of the Digges House.

Photograph 3: View northwest along Main Street with Custom House and 19th-century wooden houses on the left, Cox House with scruffy outbuildings, Cole Digges, and Somerwell House (probably owned by Lightfoot) to the right. Probably c. 1870-80. The old right (southeast) chimney is missing, and its replacement is partially visible behind the left Cox House chimney. The left (northwest) chimney has been rebuilt with the stack behind the ridge. Brickwork appears freshly painted white, except the chimneys. The two-story frame house visible just beyond the Cole Digges House in this photo, is absent from Photo 1. Here it has either dark paint or very little white paint.

Photograph 4: Summer view of Cole Digges House from the south, c.1880-1900. Elizabeth A. Cooper's tearoom sign is in place over the front door of the Digges House. It is thought that Cooper opened the tearoom in the cellar by 1881, and she died in 1901. The door has two six-light leaves, opening out. Louvered shutters on the first-floor windows and dormers. Picket fence to the right (southeast), surrounding shed-roofed porch, square-butt shingle roof with traditional combing at the ridges and swept valleys, installed precisely like 18th- and early 19th-century Chesapeake shingles. It is likely that this is mid-19th-century roof covering. Front painted white, relatively fresh, right side dirty, upper woodwork unpainted or dark paint. Shows second left (northwest) chimney with some damage and scrawny stove chimney on right (southeast).

Photograph 5: Another summer view from the south, also showing the derelict Cox House to the right, within a year or two of the fourth photo, judging from extent of vines on the right gable and shrubs inside the picket fence. Shows the E. A. Cooper sign, shingles, glazed front doors and louvered shutters. The two-story frame Old York Tavern visible to the left of the Cole Digges House looks freshly painted.

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Last Updated: 19-Jan-2005