History of Meadow Lane

Owned by the Hirsh family for five generations, Meadow Lane traces its earliest history to the middle eighteenth century when King George III of England made a land grant to Charles Lewis, one of Virginia's prominent settlers. The land now encompassing Meadow Lane was part of that grant. In 1754, a stockade-type fort was erected as French and Indian War raids became a danger. This frontier outpost, eventually known as Fort Dinwiddie, was inspected by George Washington in 1755 and 1756. A large brick house and small slave cabin were built near the site of the fort in 1805. The slave cabin still stands marking the approximate location of the fort and is now an historic reading room.

Meadow Lane was purchased by Allan & Ellen Hirsh in 1924. They built the Lodge in 1927 as their summer residence.  Allan, a graduate of Yale, class of 1901, was very musical and would have his piano hauled down to the river to entertain their friends.  Although the Hirsh’s were in residence primarily during the summer months, Meadow Lane was a true working farm with a full staff of grooms and farm workers employed all year long.

In 1969 Philip, the 2nd of Allan’s 4 sons, and his wife, Catherine, purchased an historic property in Warm Springs - the old gristmill - transforming it into the Waterwheel Restaurant at Gristmill Square. Shortly after that they also became the sole owners of Meadow Lane farm. Gristmill Square was sold in 1981.

Philip and Catherine maintained the 1860 House as there summer residence (formerly a lowly guest house on Meadow Lane farm) but with the sale of Gristmill Square they turned their attention to transforming the main residence (the summer home of Allen & Ellen) into a successful County Inn known as Meadow Lane Lodge.  They embraced their role as Innkeepers with tremendous enthusiasm.  Philip liked to cook while Catherine entertained the guests as they enjoyed their generous county breakfast.  Philip and Catherine also enjoyed entertaining friends, often hosting dinners in the barn, picnics on the Jackson and valiant games of croquet.  Philip passed away in 1996 however Catherine remains in good health and resides in Florida.

Although The Lodge, the 1860 House and the rental cottages have all been modernized, the feeling of the past is not gone from Meadow Lane. The fields sway with hay, the Jackson is filled with fish, the barnyard is busy with all animals and even the old wagon is waiting for some one to ask for a ride.

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