The village of White Post, Virginia, grew up around an actual white post that Thomas, Lord Fairfax, erected circa 1760 at the intersection of two roads to point the way to his estate, Greenway Court.* After the Revolution, a number of Tidewater families settled in the area and established plantations. Soon after, commercial establishments, including a store and a tavern, were established at the crossroads to provide services to travelers. By the 1920s, White Post had two schools, two churches, a post office, two general stores and a gas station. When Lord Fairfax Highway was constructed, it bypassed the village and many of the village businesses closed. Today, other than the two churches, only four non-residential buildings remain in the village, all dating from the early 20th century and all abandoned.
Two of these buildings, the former Sinclair gas station and an adjacent building that was probably used as a garage or repair shop, recently received a new lease on life. In March 2017, the owner of these two buildings, both built in the 1920s and closed since the 1950s, gave them to the White Post Village Association (WPVA).
Located right in the center of the village, the gas station is a frame building with a stucco exterior and a tall porte-cochere supported by square pillars. It is a spare building, nothing fancy, but representative of early 20th century service stations.
Since taking ownership of the two buildings, the WPVA applied to the Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission to remove the non-historic additions to the two buildings as a first step in the stabilization and restoration process.
Demolition took place this summer and the WPVA is raising funds for the complete restoration. You can follow their progress on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WhitePostVillageVA.
They also have a GoFundMe site where you can make a donation.
One thing that appears to make the White Post Gas Station unique – at least here in the Northern Shenandoah Valley – is its “bottle dash stucco.” Bits of broken colored glass are embedded in the stucco. When the light catches the glass, the whole building sparkles. Or it did at one time. Some of the original stucco has fallen off and been replaced with plain stucco. The WPVA is looking for someone to repair the stucco to its original glory.
*Interesting side note: Thomas, Lord Fairfax, was the only English peer to live in the colonies. The site of his plantation, Greenway Court, is one of two National Historic Landmarks in Clarke County.