Learn about Anne Spencer, a celebrated Harlem Renaissance poet, and civil rights activist.
Edward Spencer designed and built a home for his wife Anne and their young children in 1903. This historic home features two stories and has Queen Anne-style architecture. The house was modified as the children grew and their social life expanded. Edward was clever and found uses for unusual recycled or cast-off items within the home. He used some red leather padded doors originally from the Harrison Movie Theater on 5th Street in their kitchen. Edward also obtained some sheets of copper that Guggenheimer's Department Store in downtown Lynchburg used in their window displays and set them up in their dining room.
Anne loved colors, so you will notice the wallpaper and choice of paint may have unusual combinations, adding to the home's uniqueness. There is crown molding around the ceiling and doorways and a phone booth under the staircase. Guests will also see many family pictures and books here too. The second floor already had a full bathroom, but they added another bathroom, and Edward refurbished a dormitory-style room for their grandchildren in later years. This restored home has furnishings nearly identical to what it was like when Anne lived there. From her favorite magazines, toiletries, and bed linens, it appears that she just left for a few minutes and will be back soon. Anne Spencer was the first Virginian and first African-American to have her poetry included in the Norton Anthology of American Poetry.
She was a committed activist for equal rights, and her house and garden were like a political center for the community. Both her home and garden helped inspire her poetry. The Spencer's lived in the home for 72 years. Today, the garden at Anne Spencer's home is open to visitors daily from dawn until dusk, and you can explore the gardens free of charge. Tours of the house museum must be scheduled two weeks in advance and are by appointment only. Admission rates are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, $5 for college students, and $3 for children under 12 years old. If you're in Lynchburg, Virginia, don't hesitate to check out this historic home.