Take a drive in Amherst County along Virginia 130 and, just west of the village of Elon, the Dillard Mansion is an eye-capturing view as scenic as the mountains surrounding it.
Constructed from 1940 to 1942, the custom-built stone and concrete home recently was listed on the market after the most recent owner died earlier this year.
“It’s solid as a rock,” said Moyanne Harding, of Estates & Consignments, a Lynchburg company that sells homes, properties and estate furnishings. “It sits up here on this beautiful hill with this amazing view of mountains all around you.”
The 17-acre property is listed at $1.4 million, according to Harding.
The stone home sits on a knoll with views of Tobacco Row Mountain and other peaks along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Harding said a pool had been located in the back of the home but has been filled in.
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“It’s a beautiful home,” Harding said. “It’s one of a kind.”
The late owner, who bought it nearly 30 years ago, was a collector of more than 400 automobiles, Harding said.
According to the Amherst County Museum and Historical Society, the home was called “The Shelter” by the builder and original owner, David Hugh Dillard, and his wife.
Dillard was the president and owner of Old Dominion Box Company. The Campbell County native was widely known as as a Lynchburg industrialist, businessman and philanthropist who died in January 1970 at age 80. He was brother to the late Queena Dillard Stovall, a well-known folk artist who lived in Elon.
The mansion was Dillard’s dream home and designed to be a virtually fire-proof stone fortress, according to Amherst New Era-Progress archives. The stone was brought down the mountain and cut by stone cutters who lived around the Elon area, a March 1981 article in the New Era-Progress states.
The glass-enclosed tower that adorns the top of the home was made from wood and covered in lead to protect it from fire, according to New Era-Progress archives. After Dillard’s wife died in 1975, the home was sold and has had several owners over the next four decades.
According to www.virginiahistorichomes.org, which lists estates for sale across the state, the Dillard Mansion is among Amherst County’s most distinguished and iconic homes designed by noted architect Everette Fauber with spacious and elegant formal rooms for entertaining guests.
The expansive primary suite occupies and entire wing and, in total, the home offers about two-dozen rooms, including seven bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two half-bathrooms, according to the Virginia Historic Homes website. The terrace level includes an additional kitchen and greenhouse.
The home at 2770 Elon Road features hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers, arched entryways, a sunroom, a library and a tower with several outbuildings, fenced pastures and fruit trees.
Estates & Consignments hosted open houses in November at the home with an array of furniture, antique items and furnishings for sale. The house has large ceilings and is adorned with paintings.
Jim Thompson, who lives in the village of Elon, said the Dillard Mansion is one of the first properties he asked about when he and his wife moved to the county three decades ago.
“I always thought it was cool,” said Thompson, who serves on the Amherst County Planning Commission.
He said the home is highly noticeable, close to the Elon community and blends in perfectly with the beautiful views of the mountains and surrounding farm lands.
“It’s kind of like a hallmark right there in Elon,” Thompson said.
According to the Amherst County Museum and Historical Society, the home was called "The Shelter" by the builder and original owner, David Hugh Dillard, and his wife.