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The Hospitality House – 714 N. Main St.

Located at 714 N. Main St. , this imposing stucco home commands the intersection of Worsham St. and N. Main St. on the eastern side. Located directly next to the Tot-Spot Daycare Center, this home has been the location of the Whitfield family ( think the city attorney) for many years. Originally a lot was not known about this property and some speculated that it wasn’t the original structure and replaced a much earlier one. Well guess who did a little digging – well a LOT of digging. After spending about 2 days in the Records Hall at Danville Circuit Court and talking to Clarke Whitfield I’ve been able to piece the title trail together and paint a somewhat complete record of that property.

The property was originally owned by the Wyllie family, or at least as far back as a traceable deed is for that lot in Danville. Chatham, VA Courthouse Records could hold more information, but for the purpose of this story it isn’t important. F.P. Wyllie had an early deed agreement with Thomas Jefferson Corbin prior to August 14, 1880. The deed recorded on that day indicated that it would replace a previous deed that was lost or misplaced (AKA for not recorded ) from February 1879. This deed is specific to land only and doesn’t specify improvements to the property, however, a deed dated April 1876 indicated that Thomas J. Corbin transferred his home, on the upper end of N. Main, then Franklin Turnpike, to the ownership of his brother James Wesley Corbin. This is about the time James Wesley Corbin moved back from Hillsborough,NC. The deed mentions general repair to the property so it is likely that Thomas J. Corbin had already built the house at 714 N. Main St. It was during his tenure as a member of the General Assembly (Senate) that he lived in this property.

Thomas A. Corbin

Thomas J. Corbin in an effort to expand his land holdings bought up surrounding lots from family (brother-in-law Thomas J. Lee) and other families into which the Corbin clan had married or were related to. Thomas J. Corbin created what looked like a small estate home in the heart of the N. Danville / Neapolis business district. According to a 1910 map the front porch was the width of the house with a 2 tier gazebo on the southern corner (Tot-Spot side) and a small rear addition had been made by that time.

On July 18, 1883, Thomas J. Corbin and his wife Martha E. Rodenhizer Corbin released the northern portion of the lot next to his home to secure and release a debt owed by W.F. Patton and Sons Co. The northern edge of the property was released to trustee Barksdale with T.J. Corbin joining and selling the portion to Thomas Benton Fitzgerald, B. F. Jefferson, and Thomas Jefferson Lee ( his brother-in-law). The purpose of the purchased among settling a debt was to create a parsonage to be used by “the Methodist Episcopal Church.” This is probably a reference to the early location of what became Calvary Methodist; located on the corner of Keen and Church Street. T.J. Corbin remained owner in part due to his trustee status.

The church on June 6, 1886 ordered the group to sell the parsonage. T.B. Fitzgerald, B.F. Jefferson, and T.J. Lee sold the property to Thomas J. Corbin’s nephew Thomas A. Corbin and his wife Cora A. Corbin. Thomas A. Corbin occupied the former parsonage house beside 714 N. Main St., the home of his uncle Thomas Jefferson Corbin. In 1891, Thomas A. Corbin sold the parsonage property to Henry R. Miller ( Berryman Green – trustee ). Thomas J. Corbin had moved to the former property of his father Jackson C. Corbin, deeding the house at 714 N. Main St. to Thomas A. Corbin and his wife Cora.

Thomas A. Corbin and his family remained at the house until 1899. It was in those years that Thomas A. Corbin started his own tobacco warehouse business. In 1891 according to a deed filed with the Circuit Court, Thomas A. Corbin leased a warehouse at the corner of Spring and Union St. owned by Keeling and Abbott Co. for a term of 3 yrs. with the option to renew. The firm was responsible for the upgrading of the facility and Thomas A. Corbin responsible for the upkeep and the cost of any expansion. By all accounts he was successful in his venture.

Thomas A. Corbin sold the house at 714 N. Main St. in 1899 to Tyree ( Miller in Trust ). Leaving Danville, Va to move back to NC (Winston-Salem), where he continued in tobacco as well as operating a hotel  ( purchased in 1908 from David C. Parks) which he renamed the Corbinton Inn ( known now as the Colonial Inn in Hillsborough ). He enlisted his brother-in-law James Henry Fitzgerald to make a rather large addition to the hotel. Thomas A. Corbin operated the hotel until 1915 when he was killed in a car accident. His wife Cora maintained the property until she sold it in 1920 to Harry L. Akers.

The Tyree’s held the home at 714 N. Main St. through much of the early 20th century. The property was conveyed to E.H. Chappell in 1945 and then again conveyed to the Wells family in 1964. The current owners of the property are the Whitfield family who operated a catering business out of the home.

4 comments to The Hospitality House – 714 N. Main St.

  • Thank you for sharing this great history. I was born a Rodenhizer and Martha E. Rodenhizer was the daughter of my great, great grandfather, Casper Rodenhizer for whom Rodenhizer Street (although spelling incorrectly by the City) was named.

  • Travis Hackworth

    Well hello. Thomas J. Corbin ( not the one in the photo above ) and Martha E. Rodenhizer lived in 714 N. Main until T.J.’s death. She then married James Abbott whose surname was connected already to the Corbins ( although I’m not 100% on exactly how ). T.J. Corbin did know the family well though.

    T.J. by virtue of his marriage to Martha ended up with the rights to the former Crews and Rodenhizer property and was trustee for Casper. I’ve got several documents and deeds.

  • Tom W. Goggin

    My great great grandfather, Joseph Benjamin Westbrook, worked for Casper at his foundry, before briefly partnering with TJ Corbin, later with The Crews family, and, as the Crews family partners died off one by one, renamed his foundry J. B. Westbrooks Foundry ca 1900. His two sons renamed it Westbrook Elevator after their focus changed, which remained an entity until 1986 when it was sold as a unit of Thyssen…Tom Westbrook Goggin, MD tgoggin1@gmail.com

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