Joshua Miller House
Photo by Albert Mach
The Joshua Miller House is a treasure nestled on the Cullers Run Road in Mathias. This beautiful home was built in 1896 by Lewis Loury whose family occupied the home until 1923 when it was purchased by Brown & Stella Stultz. After their passing in the 1960’s the home was passed on to their daughter, Jesse Stultz Turner. The current owner, Joshua Miller, found this home tucked away in the wilderness of Hardy County during a hiking trip to the area. The owner, a native of Sheperdstown, had been searching for a home in West Virginia for some time. “We could barely see the house from the road, through the trees and vegetation, it was pretty over grown.” says Miller. With barely a driveway leading to the road, the owner hiked to the house and was surprised at the beauty he found there. “The home needed remodeling, but structurally was in great shape. The house was initially built on a stone foundation, but in the 1940’s they removed the stone, poured a footer and laid a block foundation that is impeccable,” explains Miller who credits this foundation to the preservation of the home. “The house was built well initially by the Loury’s and then cared for by the Stultz family for years. A lot of the neighbors remember Brown and Stella well and the common complement to Brown is that “ he was pretty particular” about the house and property.”
Since purchasing the house in 1997, Miller, who is a custom home designer and builder, has dedicated much of his time to the restoration of his house. The fret work, better known as the gingerbread trim, is all original, as well as the hard wood floors, and window sills and jambs. The owner completely gutted the kitchen, adding in custom built Southern Heart Pine cabinets that he made himself and beautiful custom tiles that were made by an artist friend. The owner has adorned the house with custom furniture he made himself, unique art, and pieces to keep with the original beauty of the home. “The craftsmanship from the original builder is astonishing for the time the house was built, it has held up amazingly well, and that is a tribute to good craftsmanship as well as choosing building materials wisely. Craftsmen of that time would know when to cut a tree to allow the sap to be present, say in yellow pine, which then would deter bugs and termites. They had an amazing knowledge of design, building, materials, and even how to place a house in regard to the elements. I respect that knowledge and foresight so much, I am truly inspired by it,” says Miller.
In addition to the house, the property also boasts an original springhouse and meat house. Just a few yards away, along the main road, is another historic property on Miller’s estate. The St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is also owned by Miller and has been restored into a workshop. While the house was not the parsonage for the church, it makes for a great estate for Miller. Miller has been a longtime supporter of Heritage Weekend, opening his “church” for twelve different weekends. He is also active in the Lost River Artisan Cooperative and will showcase local art in the Church for the 2013 Heritage Weekend.
Open courtesy of Joshua Miller
Directions: From Route 259, about 1.6 miles south of Mathias, take Crab Run Road. After 1.3 miles, turn right onto Cullers Run Road. The house and church are at 460 Cullers Run Road, on the right.