Kitchen

     This outbuilding was built around 1800 by slaves belonging to Anselm Lynch and is the oldest building standing in Altavista. It was likely built by slaves owned by Anselm Lynch with bricks made on the plantation. The stones seen to the left of the entrance were part of the original foundation. It was common during that time to have the kitchens located outside of the main house due to fear of fire, the excessive heat that would be generated during the summer, and to avoid polluting the house with the smells of cooking food. Soon after the current Avoca house was built in 1901, a buzzer was connected from the dining room to the kitchen and allowed for communication between the house’s dining room and the kitchen. The original flagstone floor was removed and now connects the kitchen to the main house. At one time, there was a covered walk connecting the kitchen and house. The walkway had a door opening to the lawn as well. The original plaster inside the building contained animal hair that was used as a bonding agent. It is believed that the original walls were bare and coated with whitewash and that the gray plaster seen on the walls was added prior to the mid-nineteenth century. It is believed that slaves (and, following 1865, servants) slept above the kitchen using a ladder to gain access.  This building was used for food preparation well into the twentieth century, when the servant’s apartment inside the house was converted into an attached kitchen. For those visiting during normal operating hours, please feel free to step inside the building to view Avoca Museum’s exhibit on the topic of slavery in Virginia.