Rotherwood after the Phipps

Rotherwood photograph from 1933.

Rotherwood ownership is sketchy for a time. There was one mention in 1902, when newspapers reported Henry Feagins died at Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore. He was to be returned to Rotherwood, home of the family, for burial. The paper made no distinction between the community and the mansion.

James W. Dobyns moved into Rotherwood in 1905, but he didn’t live there long. John B. Dennis purchased the home in 1917. Dennis renovated and moved in by 1920. The home was wired for electricity in 1921. Numerous events were held at and around Rotherwood during this time.

The Dennis family soon vacated the premises, themselves. It changed hands again at the start of World War II. The military used the home for officers stationed at the Holston Ordinence Works (which was the Holston Army Ammunition Plant, or Holston Defense today). After the war, it was sold as surplus, and Dennis purchased back. Legend states that within a month, Dennis sold the property to a businessman named Herbert Stone.

Herbert and Marguerite Stone owned the property for a time, but life was not always genteel. In 1947, the couple filed a suit against the Clinchfield Stone Company, a quarry operating near the property. They said the blasting done by the quarry had broken windows and shaken the home’s foundations.

The home was abandoned through the coming decades. It is uncertain as to why it continued to change hands or why no one had an interest in it. It was almost entirely destroyed. Finally, Virginia native Robert Baugh purchased the property in the 1980s. Baugh extensively renovated and improved the home. The famous New York designer wouldn’t enjoy his property long. He passed away in 1989.

The house then went to a purchaser named Lenita Thibault in 1991. The current owners prefer anonymity and Rotherwood is private property.

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