The Oaks is a charming blend of Queen Anne, Eastlake and other styles, highly original but with recent, stylishly redone bathrooms and an award-winning gourmet kitchen addition. In exceptional taste, condition and location, the house sits on 1.45 landscaped acres in the center of what is arguably the finest neighborhood of well preserved old homes in the Shenandoah Valley. It features a 24 x 34 Great Hall, many other large rooms, high ceilings, unique mantels with European tiles, stained glass, interior wooden shutters, and much cedar, oak, walnut, cherry, and pine. There are nine fireplaces, seven bedrooms, and five baths, approximately 10,000 finished square feet in all.
The house was built in 1888 by Jed Hotchkiss (1828-1899) the foremost Civil War cartographer, later well known as an author, publisher, and businessman. The name derives from its location amid oak trees, and is reflected in the images of oak leaves and acorns in the stained glass, wood carvings, tiles, and in the finials on the iron fence.
The present owner’s grandparents first rented then purchased The Oaks from the Hotchkiss family in the early 20th century. Beginning in the 1960′s The Oaks became a rallying spot for those active and interested in theater, music, and historic preservation. The founders of the American Shakespeare Center, now operating the newly established Blackfriars Playhouse in nearby downtown, presented their first Staunton performance of a Shakespeare play in the studio of The Oaks twenty years ago.
Staunton, “The Queen City of the Shenandoah Valley,” boasts an unparalleled, well preserved diversity of historic homes and public buildings, perhaps the finest of any city its size in the country. The city itself has five historic districts and 23 buildings, including The Oaks, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Within easy walking distance are theaters, museums, educational institutions, shops and restaurants. In consideration of its architecture and lively cultural scene, the National Trust in 2001 declared Staunton to be one twelve “Distinctive Destinations” in the entire United States. The surrounding Valley offers the rivers and fertile land, and cool breezes from the Alleghanies and the Blue Ridge, that first attracted hard-working settlers from the north two centuries ago. Within sight of Staunton on both sides are the George Washington National Forest and the Shenandoah National Park, totaling over a million acres of wilderness, abundant wildlife and hundreds of miles hiking trails.