John Mathias Homestead
Photo: Dan Reichard
The Mathias Homestead has survived more than two centuries of wear and tear and some misfortune to remain standing as a monument to the homesteading families of the Lost River Valley and as a special tribute to the Mathias family that made it home for 165 years.
It hasn’t been easy. During the Civil War, Union troops burned the floor of an upstairs room when a raging fire in a fireplace got out of control. The scar is still visible. Natural aging and harsh weather have taken their toll.
But nothing so threatened the cabin as the natural gas explosion at a garage across the road in December 2004. The rippling explosive impact and debris crashed into the front exterior. Repairs to the windows, doors, and roof have brought the cabin back to life.
The cabin was built as a single-family structure about 1797 by John and Barbara Mathias, who had moved here from Shenandoah County. It is believed the structure was constructed in two phases with the southernmost section being the original. At or around the time when the second part was built, porches and a breezeway were added to connect the halves.
Weatherboarding that had been added at some unknown time was removed to expose the log exterior as it appeared at the turn of the 19th Century.
For more than 165 years, the cabin was home to the Mathias family. Sadi, the widow of Philip S. Mathias, lived in the home until the mid 1960s, being the last family member to occupy it. The home place remained in the Mathias family until 1974 when it was deeded to the Mathias Civic Center Association by Wendall Mathias.
It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places Nov. 24, 1978. The Civil War Trails marker in the front yard provides more information.
Open courtesy of Mathias Homestead Inc.
Location: On Route 259 at Howard’s Lick Road, Mathias.