This finely crafted house was probably built about 1806 by young Israel H. Thompson. Unfortunately, he died the same year, at age 22. The building he left is notable for its precisely mortared brickwork and an elegant architrave under the eaves.
Thompson’s executors sold the house to Richard Chilton in 1809, and in 1815 Isaac Steer and his son Jonah purchased the building. Early on, Isaac rented a “storeroom” in the house to the newly formed Loudoun Company, a bank founded by local farmers and businessmen. The enterprise was short-lived but, according to tradition, the steel door of its vault was repurposed to cap a horse-mounting block across the street.
The Chamberlin family that began the restoration of Waterford bought the property in the late 1930s and held it for more than 70 years. Wellman Chamberlin, National Geographic’s chief cartographer, made extensive repairs and improvements to the old building at mid-century, including replacing a dilapidated porch that spanned the front façade with a hand-carved door surround he fashioned himself.
The Bank House is open through the courtesy of the current owners Julia and Samuel Thompson.