HISTORY of the WHITE HOUSE FARM
The White House Farm is very significant to Page County history. It is located within the original 5,000 acre land grant which became the first European settlement in the Shenandoah Valley.
This settlement was known as ‘Massanutten’ and a stone marker on Highway 211 has been constructed in honor of the first colonizers. However, the Valley had long been visited by Native Americans who hunted the abundant game and camped along the banks of the Shenandoah, thriving for thousands of years in the rich valley.
The earliest European settlers to the Shenandoah Valley were from Germany and Switzerland, including Martin Kauffman, who first settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania before coming to the Page Valley in 1732. His son, Martin Kauffman II, built the White House in 1760 as a residence and Mennonite meeting house. The structure is listed on both the Virginia Landmark Register and on the National Register of Historic Places. The Archeology Society of Virginia has conducted several digs around the White House.
The brick farmhouse, located just uphill from the White House, was built in 1890 and has been completely restored by Ingrid Plein Interior Design. The house includes faux painting of exotic hardwoods on cupboards, steps and baseboards. This popular practice in the Victorian era lent an air of sophistication to homes of the time.
The current Route 211 bridge, named in honor of Officer Nick Winum, is visible on the south side of the farm. This is the fifth bridge to cross the Shenandoah River in this area. In 1862, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson ordered the second bridge to be burned in order to foil Union forces. The third bridge was destroyed in the mighty flood of 1870 when the Shenandoah rose 30 feet out of its banks. This flood is written about in numerous historical publications as several county residents perished including a whole family whose house was washed away near Alma.
In 1886, the Board of Supervisors voted against spending the funds needed to rebuild the bridge, so the White House Ferry was the only way across the river for the next 40 years. In 1910, the fourth bridge was built.