ADDRESS: 904 S. Center Street
BUILT: Late 1880s
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE: Queen Anne
When Mary LeFebvre Isaacs died leaving her husband, William B. Isaacs, and two teenage daughters, her mother Lila Vance LeFebvre of Baltimore took over the welfare of the family. In 1887, she purchased for William and his daughters this fine home in Ashland that had just been built at 904 S. Center Street.
Richmonder John Skelton Williams was quite taken with one of the girls, Lila. He would take the train from Richmond to Ashland to court her. In 1895, they married at the home and after the reception, they stepped out to the tracks where they boarded a train that stopped just for them for their honeymoon trip to Washington D.C. Williams went on to create the Seaboard Coast Line railroad company, was assistant Secretary of Treasury, and eventually he became Comptroller of the Currency for the Federal Reserve.
Several families lived in the Queen Anne-style home after the Isaacs moved away in 1903. Mr. and Mrs. C. Willie Wright lived there with their daughters Agnes and Lillian, who taught dance lessons in what is now the dining room. Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford Fleet bought the house in 1929. Their son Clifford remembered a 10-stall barn, a detached kitchen, and a tin house in the back yard used to make acetylene gas to light the house. The tin house is still there, but it serves as a garden shed today.
When the Smithsons owned the house in the 1940s, they had planned to remodel the exterior into the Colonial style by removing all traces of Queen Anne details, including the bell-cast roof tower, the fish-scale siding and the various porches.
The R. Bruce Newells bought the house in 1947 and lived here with their children R. Bruce Jr., Nora and John. John, later a mayor of Ashland, remembers when the children were admonished to leave the keys in the car so they wouldn’t get lost in the house! John and Nancy Hugo purchased the house next and lived here with their children. Nancy is a nature and garden writer and developed a beautiful garden beside the house.
Today, the Reihl family lives here and have built a tree house to adorn the garden.