Mt. Pleasant/Solomon Smith House
Second and Water Streets, Richmond
Mt. Pleasant was built for George Brown, the father-in-law of Solomon Smith (1808-1870) who was a wealthy local merchant. The residence, named for its second owner, today overlooks downtown Richmond from a steeply sloping hillside. Steps led up the slop from a stream and mill directly beneath the house, and the property covered the area from Second Street to Collins Street. After the Battle of Richmond in 1862, captured Union soldiers were paroled on the grounds of Mt. Pleasant.
Mt. Pleasant is the only remaining frame residence in Richmond that incorporates Gothic Revival detailing with Greek Revival features. Gingerbread vergeboard under the eaves of the roof adds the Gothic Revival features element to the exterior. The one-and-one-half story structure includes a centralized Greek Revival single-story portico with fluted Doric columns and pilasters. Sidelights and a transom frame the central door, and a wall gable with a single window appears over the portico. Gothic Revival ornamented outbuildings with bargeboards have been retained, including the original frame kitchen, tack room, and carriage shed.
The interior central-hall plan, originally single-pile, contains two 18'x19' first floor rooms with 11' ceilings. Directly above, the two second floor rooms consist of the same dimensions but have low sloped ceilings. A semicircular central hall accommodates a curved stairway having a round cherry railing and cherry balusters. This feature is an early alteration. Solomon Smith had the hall widened and the circular staircase added around 1852. The interior doorways feature shouldered architrave molding. Many original furnishings remains, including a walnut Renaissance Revival style bedroom suite and a hatstand that came from Solomon Smith’s general store. A George Vogt piano, labeled 1858, still retains its original French polish finish.
For many years Mr. And Mrs. George G. Corzelius resided here. Mrs. Corzelius was a descendant of Solomon Smith, and Mr. Corzelius managed the Glyndon Hotel. In 1977 Mt. Pleasant was donated by Betsy Smith Toy Hall, a descendant of both Solomon Smith and George Brown, to be used as the headquarters of the Madison County Historical Society.