Standing at 227 West Freemason Street at the corner of Duke, Norfolk’s Taylor-Whittle House represents one of the finest expressions of Federal-style architecture. The house is located in the heart of Norfolk’s designated historic district and the Taylor-Whittle House has been designated a Historic Landmark of Virginia and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Taylor-Whittle House is considered an architectural gem in this region and one of the few surviving examples of its type in Tidewater Virginia.
The Taylor-Whittle House is a transitional-style building that reflects both Georgian and Federal influences. It was constructed circa 1790 and features many classically styled elements inside and out. The architect is unknown, but it is believed that the person who designed and constructed the Moses Myers House, another historic home in Norfolk, may also have built the Taylor-Whittle house.
The original property owner was Thomas McKnight, who, due to his alliance with the British, had his property confiscated. George Purdie then purchased the property and began construction of the house, which was finally completed after John Cowper purchased it in 1802. In December of 1802, Richard Taylor purchased the house and his daughter Alexine and her husband, Richard Page, later inherited it. Their daughter married Capt. William Whittle who served as the Executive Officer for the CSS Shenandoah, which was a blockade raider during the Civil War. Being removed from communication with the mainland, he was unaware that the war had ended. Four months after Lee’s surrender, a British ship pulled up along side of Whittle’s ship and when he asked “How goes the war?,” the British ship’s officer replied “What war?”. Whittle then sailed his ship to England fearing that he and his crew would be unwelcome in Norfolk. He then came back across the Atlantic, dropped off some crew in Florida, and continued to Argentina. He remained there until receiving a letter asking him to return home. After his return, he married Miss Page.
Members of the Taylor and Whittle families occupied the home until 1972, when it was donated to the Norfolk Historic Foundation. Currently, the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Inc. is headquartered there and the Norfolk Historical Society’s main office is located on the second floor.
The Taylor-Whittle House is available for individuals and groups to lease. For more information, contact the League’s main office at (757) 623-7270 or email@example.com