July 19th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards
The Captain Timothy Hill House is the oldest known house on Chincoteague Island – but was only recently discovered and was almost demolished!
European settlers began occupying Chincoteague Island in the late 1700′s. Built in the early 1800′s, the Captain Timothy Hill House is the only building remaining from that initial wave of settlement.
The story of Captain Timothy Hill has him shipwrecked on Assateague Island and, upon making his way to Chincoteague, settling here and building the house. Succeeding generations of Hills occupied the house up until 1954. Thereafter, it was apparently left vacant and to rot.
Threatened with destruction in 1980, the by then anonymous Captain Timothy Hill House was moved from its original location where it continued the process of falling in on itself. Fast forward to 2009 and Chincoteague resident Louisa Flaningam seeing the dilapidated remnants of the tiny home and thinking: “that’d make a good bicycle shed.” Others had long considered it an eyesore and had lobbied to have it torn down, not realizing that the home had already weathered 200 years on the island.
Covered in tarps, the roof caved in, and suffering from extensive wood rot, the Captain Timothy Hill House was moved again. In preparing it for its new life as a shed, the rotting weatherboard was removed and there, beneath, was discovered the tight, dovetail jointed corners of classic log-plank construction – an unmistakeable indicator as to the building’s advanced age. Further investigations revealed that the building had once had a wooden chimney, making the Captain Timothy Hill House only one of two buildings still standing in Virginia with such a feature.
One of the many exterior ship carvings
Then the couple dozen sailing ships carved into the houses exterior were noticed. Simple, line-art depictions of ships that would have been a very common sight on the Chincoteague of the early 1800′s. As other details emerged and the home’s history began taking shape, it was clear that the Captain Timothy Hill House could not be converted into a bicycle shed but, rather, might benefit from a restoration, and so work was begun.
Restored to its colonial era condition and honored with listing on both The Virginia Landmarks Register and The National Register of Historic Places, the Captain Timothy Hill House serves as a museum of early Chincoteague and America. Open Fridays from 1-3 p.m. during the summer season, a docent is on hand to explain the history and details of the home and life in the early 1800′s.
The Captain Timothy Hill House
5122 Main St.
Chincoteague VA 23336
Captain Timothy Hill House Lodging
Visiting the Captain Timothy Hill House is a great way to step back to a earlier, simpler time – but you can’t stay there. Why not stay at historic 1848 Island Manor House Bed and Breakfast? We can also provide you with amenities and service that are a combination of the best that today can offer with a a sense of those simpler, quieter times. Explore the quaint charm of Chincoteague Island and let us be your home away from home.