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  • Writer's pictureVeda Dean

The restoration of the Marlette mansion

In 1852 Virginian James P. Martin built the first permanent housing structure in the Ione Valley, a Georgian style brick mansion by the name of “Marlette.” A few years later, Martin fell on some hard times and needed cash, so he sold the house to William and Josephine Scully who were well respected in the area. The house stayed in the Scully name known as “Scully Ranch” for 140 years until it was sold to Sam and Jessica McCarthy in 2022. It was officially recognized in the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1978 and has recently been restored to honor its original beauty. 

Sam and Jessica had big plans for the house, but before they could renovate, some big repairs needed to be done. One of the more difficult repairs was to replace some of the cracked bricks especially below the numerous windows on the outside of the home. Since the bricks were made on-site out of local clay, they were too fragile to be mixed with modern brick and mortar. They hired a historic brick specialist to hand make new bricks to replace the broken ones. 

repairing and replacing the brickwork

There were also many cracks in the walls on the inside of

the home, and most of the rooms were painted with lead paint which was removed by hand.

Sam found the process of repairing the walls particularly interesting as he discovered unorthodox 19th century building techniques. He said that he found horse hairs in the walls used to bind the materials together. 



Outside the home, Sam’s family is utilizing the fertile soil to grow a variety of flowers to supplement their business, Gordon Hill Flower Shop, lavender and sunflowers being the most prevalent among them. This summer they plan to expand the farm even further with more flower varieties to sell to wholesale and retail in their shop. 

A plentiful morning crop of sunflowers

As one of Ione’s most well-known historic sites, Marlette is not going to waste. It now serves a new and growing family that will love it just as much as the Scullys’, hopefully for another 140 years. 




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