Write up published in The Heritage of Lunenburg County 1743 – 2009

2014-08-03 written by: Brad

As a boy growing up in the southern part of Lunenburg County, one of the places of interest was an abandoned hunting lodge called ‘The Bungalow”. I don’t know the exact history, but was always told that a “Doctor from up North” had owned it during the 1920s and 1930s, and that he would provide shotgun shells for the local men and boys so that they would go hunting with him when he came down.

It was built just below the joining of Mason’s Creek with Bears Element Creek (called Bars Element by the locals). It was built just to the south of the site of Garland’s Mill, which had been built in colonial times, and also the site of Bagley’s Mill in the late nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century.

My first memory was in late 1945, when I visited it with several other family members. The road was dirt and very crooked, going down to the creek (now Plank Road) and when you crossed the creek, you had to park on the shoulder of the road and hike about one quarter of a mile on a road that had been made of stones. This road made a ninety degree turn before getting to the house.

At that time, the building had not been abandoned long, and was mostly intact.

As you walked into the building, there were four rooms on the upper level, each having a fireplace and two rooms on the lower level with a fireplace. An interesting feature was that three fireplaces all vented through a chimney on either end of the building, and the upper floor fireplaces were at an angle to each other. These had been built with local stone and faced with granite and had firebrick inside.

There was a balcony on the upper level which showed the creek and the small dam that had been part of Bagley’s Mill. The lower level

opened out to the creek a few feet lower than the upper balcony. Another feature was a second building said to be a kitchen and cook-house just past the main building. Some of the plaster had been broken, and the laths were visible in the wall. This also had a large chimney for heating and cooking. For many years, up into the 1950′s and early 1960′s, each trip would find more damage to both buildings and by the early 1960′s it was dangerous to go into them.

At one visit, Japanese hornets had built a nest in the cook-house, so that was out of bounds. We stood off at a good distance and shot holes into the mud nest, making sure we could escape if they located where the bullets were coming from.

By the 1970′s most of the buildings had fallen down, with only the three chimneys standing, as they still are in 2008. Just up the road from the creek a large split rock could be seen, and everyone always wanted

to climb through the split up to the top of the rock, about ten feet above.

The split was slanted, so walking was difficult. You had to lean to one side and hold yourself off the other rock. This was very entertaining for a short while. This rock is still visible from Plank Road, but is on private property, owner unknown, so it probably would be best to stay off.

Ref:County Heritage book: The Heritage of Lunenburg County 1743 – 2009, Southside Virginia Genealogical Society and County Heritage Inc. First Printing, 2009, pg 328

Willard Hazlewood

Lunenburg, VA
The Heritage of Lunenburg County

Category: Cabin Project