Source:  Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation

Check out our gallery of the Heater House here.

The Heater House was occupied by the Solomon Heater family during the Battle of Cedar Creek. The barn and out buildings, only traces of which are visible today, and likely the house itself were used as a hospital during the battle. But the Heater House was over 100 years old when that event took place.


The property was first purchased by James Hoge (Hogue) from Jost Hite’s land grant in 1742 and named Cedar Grove. Recent dendrochronology testing of the structural timbers confirms that the structure predates Belle Grove and its magnificent manor house by over 30 years,. Later additions were added by James and his son Solomon Hoge, including that of a single story wood framed structure of hand-hewn timbers and limestone nogging together with double compound dove-tailed timber connections. This technology was straight out of German traditions brought with colonists from the old county.

Solomon Heater and his wife, Caroline, purchased Cedar Grove in 1843.  When the Civil War

came, the two older Heater children joined the Confederate Army and later died in Confederate service.  Caroline Heater, who had sympathy for the Union and considered herself a loyalist, kept her youngest son, eventually sending him north to school.  Theirs is a story of the heartbreak of brother against brother that comes home to family.

The historic Heater House on the battlefield has been an area of focus for further preservation efforts and an active fundraising drive is in progress to restore the premises to its 19th Century condition.  The building, erected in the 18th Century may be one of the oldest, still standing, wooden structures in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  Recent dendrochronology results place its construction 30 years prior to what had previously been thought.  Research and archaeology will reveal more as we proceed with efforts to save this historical building and provide a window into the past.

Recent survey and investigative efforts have revealed evidence of construction technology straight out of the European roots of early settlers in the Shenandoah Valley.  The use of double compound dove-tail joints, hand hewn logs and timbers, and shipwright marks on connection points show the precision and expertise of the builder.  Hair was used as a bonding feature for the plaster applied to walls.  Samples of human along with typical farm animal hair has been found in the original plaster of the house. The discovery of fingerprints in the plaster and on timbers is also evident.  An early colonial practice now lost to time, is found in the limestone “nogging” used in the walls. Used as a method of insulation and pest control, this technology is rarely found in historical houses that remain in America.

Graffiti has also been found in the house. The age of the graffiti in not yet determined.  However, at least one pictograph bears a strong resemblance to the likeness of George Washington.

Outside the house, a finished paved courtyard is buried inches below the surface.  Archaeology has discovered the brick and limestone features that provide evidence that the occupants of the home were cultured and used to frequent visitation.  Records show a road that connected Middletown, and what after 1833 would be the Valley Pike, with the Hite Road which is now Meadowbrook Road.  The Hite Road was at one time the busiest wagon thoroughfare through the Shenandoah Valley.

The spring house was a two-story combined stone and wood structure of particular beauty. Recently discovered photographs of the structure will allow its restoration to the graceful charm when it was used as a source of water, a chilling facility, and as a cider mill.

Traces of a mill race may be found from the vicinity of the spring house leading to Meadowbrook.  This suggests the existence of a mill on the lower reaches of the waterway. The exact location of this structure has not yet been identified.

These items all add up to an exciting trail through history.  Although the planned restoration of the Heater House will target the 19th Century period of the American Civil War, the aim is to preserve the earlier history of the construction and occupation of the home and provide a window into the 18th Century that can be demonstrated to visitors once the house is restored.