Riddick's Folly

Riddick's Folly (HMBVP)

Location: Suffolk, VA 23434
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 44.226', W 76° 34.939'

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Avant-Garde Greek Revival Masterpiece

The restored Greek Revival house before you is Riddick's Folly. It was constructed in 1837 by Mills Riddick, a grandson of local Revolutionary War hero Willis Riddick. Mill's contemporaries soon ridiculed the house and labeled the building "Riddick's Folly" due to its enormous size - 21 rooms and 16 fireplaces - and its avant garde Greek Revival architecture. The structure's distinctive design features Flemish gables, five eyebrow windows just below the eaves and interior carved cypress woodwork.

Riddick's Folly played an important role in Suffolk's Civil War experience. At the outbreak of the war, Mill's son Nathaniel and wife Missouri resided in the home with their six children. However, when the Union forces occupied Suffolk in 1862, the family was forced to evacuate. Riddick's Folly became the headquarters of Maj. Gen. John James Peck, commander of the Union division controlling the Suffolk area. Peck used the house intermittently from September 8, 1862, to August 1, 1863, after which he was appointed commander of the Union district of North Carolina.

This large Greek Revival structure provided ample space for Peck and his entire staff. The house was simultaneously used as a hospital for sick and wounded Union soldiers. Many of the penciled messages and autographs written on the walls by those soldiers have been carefully preserved and are still legible today.

The family eventually returned to Riddick's Folly once the Confederate threat to Suffolk ended and the Union troops evacuated the town (November 1865). They found that the house had been completely looted - only a single chair remained.
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 6:44pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 358723 N 4066875
Decimal Degrees36.73710000, -76.58231667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 44.226', W 76° 34.939'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 44' 13.56" N, 76° 34' 56.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)757
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 510 N Main St, Suffolk VA 23434, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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