The Marshall Field & Company Clubhouse
|In 1756, this area was on the western edge of the settled colonies bordering the wilderness and Indian lands.
George Washington, fearful of an Indian uprising, established Fort Trial near present day Fieldale to protect the few
hunters and trappers in the area. Fort Trial, the most southerly of George Washington's fourteen forts, was located
on the Smith River at the mouth of Reed Creek and allowed pioneers to settle the area.|
|In 1760, George Waller and his wife, Anne, moved to the area and established Waller's Ford, where he
protected a crossing point on the Smith River for wagons and established a farm and muster grounds that covered all of the area in and around what
is now present day Fieldale, Virginia. George Waller formed a militia company which trained on the muster grounds for battle in the Revolutionary War and took the lead in the formation of a settlement.
On March 17, 1781, he marched sixteen companies of the militia to assist in the The Battle of Guilford County Courthouse
in North Carolina. After that victory, Waller marched his troops southeast to the siege of Yorktown. Waller and his troops
were with General Washington when Lord Cornwallis surrendered the British claim to American soil, thus granting freedom
and independence to the American people. George Waller was recognized for his service and commissioned Colonel Waller
at this time. He became one of the first justices of the newly formed county of Henry, and lived at Waller's Ford in service to the
area until his death in 1814.
"Colonel Waller belonged to that group of grand old patriots whose service and sacrifices are without parallel in the history of mankind. They fought well, wrought better, and laid the foundation of the greatest government the world has ever seen, and while they bequeathed to us many blessings, they also laid upon us the obligations to carry on as they carried on."
Honorable Sam Rayburn
Speaker of the House
United States Congress, 1951
Waller's Ford was passed down through the hands of his descendants until 1916, when Marshall
Field & Company purchased the property. Marshall Field used the 1,841 acres purchased to build Fieldcrest Mills, the town of Fieldale and the company
"Clubhouse" which provided lodging for executives, celebrities and visiting dignitaries. The construction was completed in
the spring of 1919. The streets of Fieldale were mapped out to provide both a roadway and a sidewalk, and the town was the first
in the region to be electrically lighted and have its own water and sewage system. Fieldcrest Mills would become Marshall
Field & Company's most famous manufacturing division.
|To build the Clubhouse, mules hooked to dragpans flattened the mountain top creating the site and the foundation
was laid by a Scotchman, using the original stone of the mountain. The same local fieldstone was used to construct
six fireplaces, some of which are upstairs in the bedrooms. The architect, Mr. W.C. Northrup of Winston-Salem, North Carolina
chose an English country house with stucco between exposed beams and wall framing. The main house is 8,500 square
feet and has six main rooms on the first floor, a billiard room in a partial basement and seven bedrooms upstairs. A glass
enclosed sunroom marks the east end of the first floor, and there is a north facing front veranda which stretches the length of the
Clubhouse. The upstairs features balconies on both the east and west ends that make the mountain view even more spectacular.
There's also a carriage house, a manager's house, tennis court, a horse barn and miles of wooded trails across the property.
|Distinguished guests at the Lodge have included governors, senators, statesmen, noted merchants and buyers, industrialists, financiers,
actors, directors and officers of various companies. Randolph Scott, a popular western movie star during the 50's, took a tour of the mill
and stayed in the Clubhouse in 1951, and in the 1970's, actress Mary Martin was the spokesperson for Fieldcrest and stayed in the
Clubhouse many times.