STOP #12

1200 Caroline Street

Lewis Store

The Lewis Store is a rare example of surviving commercial architecture from the early 1700s. Built in 1749 by John Lewis (an influential Virginia planter, merchant, and father of Fielding Lewis), the building was distinctive even in its own time. This was a grand retail establishment with its stone quoins for the exterior corners. Richard Taliaferro has been attributed as its architect. Taliaferro was responsible for many early colonial structures—from plantation homes of many important Virginians to government buildings found in Williamsburg. The Lewis Store was originally a one-and-a-half story building. The door to the selling floor was located where you see it today. The southeast corner housed a display window that is no longer visible from the exterior. The original building included the selling floor, a storage hall, a counting room (with the only fireplace in the building), a half-story storage space accessed via a narrow interior staircase with an exterior loading door, and basement storage accessible through an exterior bulkhead. In 1807, fire one block away destroyed many Fredericksburg buildings. The Lewis Store was lucky and survived the fire, but it was after this event that the building became the two-story structure you see today. The building continued to serve as a retail space until 1820 when it was converted into a residence. An influential resident was Keith Pitzer. The Savee/Pitzers lived at 1200 Caroline for three generations and finally abandoned the building in 1982. The Lewis Store was donated to the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation in 1996, and work began on its restoration. Preservation efforts continue to this day on this historic building.

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