Listed in the National Register of Historic Places (1974).
This capricious, if provincial, expression of the Queen Anne style was briefly the home of the notorious Sidna Allen. Allen was member of the so-called Allen Gang involved in the Carroll County Courthouse shooting in 1912. The house, finished the year before the shooting, was designed by Allen and his wife. It was built by Preston Dickens, a local carpenter, with Allen assisting. Allen dreamed of the finest house in Carroll County, and the house was his dream come true until confiscated by the state after his conviction for the courthouse incident. The property is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The home is owned by Bert and Marlene Widener, who offer tours by appointment. Admission: $2 – adults and $1 children. Please call to schedule an appointment. Located in the Fancy Gap community near I-77 Exit 14.
This was Sidna and Betty Allen’s “dream house.” It was a bit over a year in construction and was finished in the spring of 1911. Sidna wrote that he did the outside design and he left the interior to Betty. In reality, Sidna probably relied heavily upon the skills of Prieston Dickens in its design, but it was a compilation of things he saw on homes in his travels west.
No one person can be solely credited with its building; many local craftsmen were employed for the task. Prieston Dickens and Reed Hall were probably most responsible… especially for the intricate woodworking portion of it.
The lighting was from acetylene gas, a method popular before the proliferation of electricity. Water was dripped on calcium carbide pellets (in an outside mechanism called a “generator”) causing a chemical reaction and the production of acetylene gas. The gas was piped throughout the house via iron pipes which are still visible in the attic and crawlspaces.
Glass and fixtures were shipped into the train depot at Sylvatus. The wood came from Sidna and his brother Garland’s sawmill.
Those Who Have Owned the Sidna Allen Home
1. J. Sidna Allen, his wife Betty Mitchell Allen and children Marguerite Allen Gardner and Pauline Allen Iroler Wilson finished building the house in the spring of 1911 and lived there for a little less than one year.
2. As a result of three $10,000 wrongful death lawsuits brought by families of Sheriff Lewis Webb, Attorney William Foster and Judge Thornton Massie, the house was seized by the State. It was rented from 1912 to 1917 and then two of Sidna Allen’s defense attorneys, Nicholas. P. Oglesby and Robert P. Bruce, bought it as an investment.
3. They sold it to Lewis Cassell Webb and his wife, Erna Quesenberry Webb. At that time, Joseph Swanson Smith and his wife, Jessie Mae Liddle, boarded there.
4. Kermit Bolick and his wife, Mary Kay, from Pulaski, VA were the next owners.
5. A man named Meyers from Winston-Salem, NC owned it for a short period of time but never lived there.
6. Noah Rawdon Weddle and his wife, Emma Hill bought it in 1946.
7. Marlene Weddle Widner inherited the house from her parents. Her father’s will specifies that it only be passed down to his descendants.
8. Stanley Widner and Bonnie Widner Wood, the children of Marlene.
9. The Carroll County Historical Society, INC., own the house today through a generous donation by Stanley Widner and Bonnie Widner Wood.
Latest posts by Carroll County Historical Society and Museum (see all)
- Plans Announced To Preserve Allen House - April 3, 2015
- Historic house in Fancy Gap becomes gift to posterity - April 4, 2014
- Welcome to the J. Sidna Allen Home Website - April 4, 2014