The Kyle House, at the corner of Main and Church Streets in Fincastle, is named for its first owner, Robert Kyle, a prosperous landowner and merchant. Based on tax records, it is believed that the current structure was built around 1830. It is reminiscent of fine English country homes of the period. Unusual for the time, this grand home was designed both as a residence and a store. After Mr. Kyle's death in 1833, various members of the McDowell family owned the property and operated a hotel here for several years. F.D. Bolton purchased the building in 1914, and generations of the Bolton family operated a general store in the building until the 1970's. As a result, the building is known to many area residents as "Bolton's Store".
Kyle House is a three-story brick structure with a hand-laid limestone foundation. Interior walls are also brick, covered by plaster. The building was originally L-shaped with a separate outdoor kitchen. There were originally nine fireplaces. A "modern" kitchen, bathroom and second story porch were later added to the back of the building. In addition to the formal entrance on Main Street, there is a private entrance on Church Street. There is also an angled, corner entrance at Church and Main that was installed in 1940. A wrought iron balcony extends across the central part of the building overhanging the sidewalk on Main Street. Limestone frames the tops and bottoms of the doors and windows.
The building is best known for exquisitely carved interior woodwork on fireplace mantels, archways, door frames, and the large scale three story open staircase. The carving is comparable with the best in Virginia. Tradition has it that an itinerant German woodcarver rendered the carvings. The carvings on the main floor are repeated to a lesser degree on the second floor, and only on the stairway to the third floor. Floor and ceiling beams are hand-hewn and pegged. A prominent feature is the large ballroom (30ft by 40ft) on the second floor.
To learn more about how the Kyle House is used today, please click here.
A Seed-Bed of the Republic, Robert Douthat Stoner, Commonwealth Press, Inc., Copyright 1962
R.E Bolton Store and Residence, Ann Bell Layman, 1979.