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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

John Fox Jr. home serves as a museum

The John Fox Jr. House preserves Fox's family home.
The John Fox Jr. House preserves Fox's family home.

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

Big Stone Gap, Virginia is home to the John Fox Jr. House, the home of the author of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine."

The John Fox Jr. House, a Virginia historical landmark, serves as a museum and a memorial to the Fox family. The house was built in 1888 and is filled with furnishings and mementos of the family. Here, Fox lived while he wrote 15 full-length novels and more than 500 short stories. Most well known are "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" and "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come." "Trail of the Lonesome Pine" became the nation's first million-copy-selling novel and was later made into the first Technicolor movie filmed outdoors starring Henry Fonda, Sylvia Sidney and Fred MacMurray.

Fox studied English at Harvard University. He graduated in 1883 before becoming a reporter in New York City. After working for the New York Times and the New York Sun, he published a serialization of his first novel, "A Mountain Europa," in Century Magazine in 1892. Two moderately successful short story collections followed, as well as his first conventional novel, "The Kentuckians" in 1898. Fox gained a following as a war correspondent, working for Harper's Weekly in Cuba during the Spanish-American War of 1898, where he served with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Six years later, he traveled to Asia to report on the Russo-Japanese War for Scribner's Magazine.

Though he occasionally wrote for periodicals, after 1904, Fox dedicated much of his attention to fiction. "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come" (published in 1903) and "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" (published in 1908) are his most well-known and successful works, entering the New York Times top 10 list of bestselling novels for 1903, 1904, 1908 and 1909.

Special events and private parties are held at the museum throughout the year. Guided tours are conducted through the house from 2-6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday after Memorial Day until the Saturday before Labor Day, closed on holidays. Tours for 20 or more may be scheduled for any time during the year. To schedule a tour or for more information, call 276-623-2747. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for seniors 65 and older; $1 for children,

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Topics: Theatre