Gari Melcher’s Home and Studio at Belmont will open the historic Fannie Roots House to the public for the first time on Sunday, November 9.
Dating back to the 1880s, the house is a rare example of a post-civil war workman’s cottage. A presentation on the history of the house and restoration work will begin in the Studio Pavilion at 2 p.m. before tours of the house. The event is free and open to the public.
In 1912, the building was purchased by Willie Roots, an African-American laborer who did occasional work for Gari Melchers. Roots’ daughter Fannie, a well-known citizen of Stafford County and a civil rights activist, was born in the house and lived there her entire life. The building did not have running water, so Fannie relied on an outhouse and well. There was electricity for phone and lights, but she used a wood stove for heating and an oil stove for cooking.
Restoration on the house began in 2008 when Belmont became the steward of the property. With support from private citizens, businesses and volunteers, the house is receiving a new roof and a rebuilt kitchen chimney, among other restorations.
Work was made possible with grants from the Fredericksburg Savings Charitable Foundation, the Duff McDuff Green Jr. Fund of the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region and the Marietta M. and Samuel T. Morgan, Jr. Foundation.
The house still requires pest control, landscaping and other projects. For more information on the restoration project, contact Beate Ankjær-Jensen, Site Preservation Manager, at (540) 654-1839.