Advanced Search | Search A!:
Volume 26, Number 5 — May 2019

June Tolliver House is a registered landmark and museum

The June Tolliver House serves as a museum.
The June Tolliver House serves as a museum.

By Leslie Grace | A! Magazine for the Arts | July 01, 2015

The June Tolliver House is a registered Virginia and National Historic Landmark, located next door to the June Tolliver Playhouse, home of the "Trail of the Lonesome Pine."

The first floor of the house displays antiques dating from the turn of the 19th century. Throughout its rooms are paintings donated by local artists, the majority of whom are actors/actresses who have held a starring role in the "Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama."

The second floor contains an archive of historic photographs. The third floor features a rotating art gallery, and an antique kitchen is located in the basement. The gift shop offers books written by local authors, crafts made by local artisans and more.

In 1881, Jerome Hill Duff brought his family in a covered wagon to Big Stone Gap, Virginia, then known as "Three Forks." In April of that year, a sawmill was set up near their home. When the lumber was cut and ready, Duff built an eight-room house for his family. They moved in, completing construction as they could. When the boom came, more rooms were added to the residence, and it became the town's first hotel, The Central Hotel.

Duff purchased a lot across the street from the hotel and began to build his family a replacement residence. The family was forced to move into the house before it was completed when a fire destroyed the Central Hotel. In October 1890, Duff passed away.

The house was not considered a hotel, but after Duff's passing, some of his friends from the Central Hotel came as paying guests.

During the winter of 1893, Lillian Morris, a little girl from the hills whom many people think was the model for June Tolliver, the heroine of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine," lived in the home and attended Stonega Academy's Primary Department.

Today the Duff house is known as the June Tolliver House & Folk Art Center, in honor of the central character in John Fox's Jr.'s book. The house is located on the street named in Duff's honor, Jerome Street.

The house is open March through mid-December from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and from 2-5 p.m., on Sunday. It is also open prior to "Trail" performances during July and August until show time.

For more information, call 1-800-362-0149 or 276-523-4707 or email the

>> John Fox Jr. home serves as a museum

Topics: Theatre