At a time when the Kanawha Valley was filled with simple, rustic log cabins, James Craik saw the potential for something more. Driven by the democratic spirit of the era, in 1834 he built one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in West Virginia and beyond—and, in the fashion of day, named it “Elm Grove.”
Today the house is called Craik-Patton, reflecting the importance of its owners, James Craik, of course, and later, Confederate Colonel George S. Patton I, grandfather of famous WWII General George S. Patton. The house also played a role in the Civil War and is filled with furnishings and artifacts that truly capture the flavor of 19th Century America.
Most of us have heard of Patton, but what about Craik? He was a lawyer from a prominent family that came to the Kanawha Valley from the tidewater region in Virginia. His grandfather, Dr. James Craik, was George Washington’s personal physician and the first Surgeon General of the Continental Army. Later, Dr. Craik’s son, George Washington Craik, served as Washington’s secretary during his second term in office.
In 1844, just ten years after building “Elm Grove,” Craik abandoned his law practice to become an Episcopal rector in Louisville. The house was sold at that time to Isaac Read, who sold it for $2,900 to Colonel Patton in 1856. Patton organized and led the Kanawha Riflemen of the 22nd Virginia Infantry in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. And the house was used by the 36th Virginia Volunteer Infantry, which engaged in numerous skirmishes.
So whether you’re fascinated by (or just curious about) American architecture, the post-Colonial era or the Civil War, Craik-Patton House opens a door on all these aspects of our nation’s story.