View of the Stairhall, Pennock House, Norfolk, VA, 1796, Benjamin Latrobe

Pennock House

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Wenger, Mark R. "The Central Passage in Virginia: Evolution of an Eighteenth-Century Living Space," Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture II. 1986.

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1. The staircase represented in this image is far grander than the reality known by most southerners by the early nineteenth century. Explore the history of the staircase as an object in Virginia houses from the late seventeenth to the mid-nineteenth century.

2. Why was it important that elite houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth-century have a grand staircase? What were the social functions of the staircase? Why did some houses have another, less prominent staircase?

3. The Pennock House was the home of an important Norfolk sea captain. Compare and contrast townhouses in Norfolk, Charleston and Annapolis.

4. Benjamin Latrobe, the architect of the Pennock House, was a prominent, English-trained architect. Discuss the extent to which he played a role in shaping elite Southern architecture.