Senator’s Farmhouse

This old farmhouse was built in 1929 as a replacement for a mansion that was built a century earlier. The property is the former home of the highly-regarded educator and change-making politician, Blake Tyler Newton. Most notably, Newton served in the Virginia Senate from 1955 to 1965 and was a big supporter of public school desegregation. His unwillingness to back down on the matter eventually cost him his job as president of the State Board of Education. 

Newton lived in Hague, a small town in Virginia’s Westmoreland County, his whole life, where he enjoyed multiple careers as a politician, school principal, school superintendent, and lawyer. In his early years in Virginia, he attended segregated public schools and went on to earn his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the College of William and Mary. In 1956, he received his alma mater’s highest alumni award for loyalty and service. As a school superintendent of Westmoreland and Richmond counties, a position he held for 41 years, he replaced 30 one-room schoolhouses (often without plumbing or heat) with centralized modern public schools and established a school bus transportation system. He also oversaw the consolidation of elementary and high schools in the two counties.

As a state senator, Newton was a member of a 20-man coalition that supported former Governor J. Lindsey Almond against a 19-member bloc of strict segregationists in the Virginia General Assembly. He was also a leader of the “Straight Democratic Ticket” organization that fought the “Eisenhower Democrats” and the then powerful Byrd organization and worked on the 1960 election campaign of John F. Kennedy. After his retirement from the state senate, Newton served as a director of the Farmer’s Bank of Hague and continued to practice law part-time until his death in the 1970s. Blake Tyler Newton, along with many other members of the family, are buried in a private cemetery on the property behind the house. In 2001, Westmoreland County named its new library after Newton. Today, the old farmhouse is currently undergoing restoration.

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Home would have been a place of refuge for the busy man and this large welcoming lounge would’ve greeted him warmly when he returned home after a hectic day. It remains decorated with a floral area rug, an ornately carved writing desk, and a wooden and velvet sofa.
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The large room benefits from plenty of natural light, meanwhile the brass candle-style chandelier would have kept things bright after dark. This was no small feat, considering in 1925 just half of all homes in the US had electric power. The fireplace would have also cast a cozy glow, but given this home was built on the cusp of the Great Depression, it could also have proved an economical way of keeping warm.
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Farmhouse
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Newton, along with his wife Bertha and their three children enjoyed many meals in the dining room.
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Through the double doors off the main room, you’ll find this parlor with deep cyan walls and woodwork. The rich hue beautifully offsets the fine pair of deep pink wingback armchairs positioned around the fireplace.
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in the hallway, you can appreciate the sheer scale of the property’s dimensions.
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This second-floor landing is so big that the beautiful glass-fronted dresser, which appears to have been emptied of belongings, takes up barely any square footage.
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Subtle structural features such as this beautiful Art Deco arched doorway frame the living spaces beautifully and create an easy flow from room to room.
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A large decorative mirror hangs in the upstairs hallway outside of one of the bedrooms.
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In what might have been the master bedroom, refreshing mint green walls frame a regal slumber space.
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The far corner of the room is reserved for this handsome wooden dressing table set-up, possibly used by Bertha.
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 The original lozenge-shaped bathtub remains, however, the square grid-style tiling has since been painted and is now peeling from the walls.
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Another grand bedroom, painted in a dapper powder blue that works beautifully against the rich mahogany furniture.
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The mustard flower wallpaper in this ensuite bathroom is in suprisingly good condition for its age.

Senator's Farmhouse

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6 comments

  1. Thank you for giving the world a look at what is out there and just waiting for someone to bring them back to life….hopefully. Such beautiful homes needing to be loved again. Glad this is being brought to life again!

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