The June Tolliver House is a registered Virginia and National Historic Landmark, with 19th century furnishings and a gift shop featuring mountain handicrafts and other assorted gifts. It is located next door to the June Tolliver Playhouse, home of the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama.
The first floor of the house displays antiques dating back from the turn of the century. Throughout its rooms are paintings donated by local artists, the majority of which are actors/actresses who, over the past 45 years, have held a starring role in the Trail of the Lonesome Pine Outdoor Drama. Upstairs you will find an archive of historic photographs that you must see to believe. Find the time, or better yet, take the time to stop by the June Tolliver House when you are in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. And while you're here, visit our gift shop -- you'll find books written by local authors, crafts made by local artisans and much, much more! Hope to see you soon!
Visit Our second floor for local history; enjoy our rotating art gallery on the third floor and feel free to tour our antique kitchen located in the basement. And, of course, you will very much enjoy our gift shop.
The house is open March through mid-December from 10 AM to 5 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and from 2 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. It is also open prior to "Trail" performances during July and August until show time. The drama is performed every Thursday through Saturday nights during July and August.
In 1881, Jerome Hill Duff brought his family to Big Stone Gap then known as "Three Forks" in a covered wagon. They lived near the rock quarry in a one-room log cabin with a shed built on for a kitchen. In April of that year, a sawmill was brought in and set up near their home. As soon as the lumber was cut and ready, Duff built a rough eight room house for his family. They moved in, completing construction as they could. When the boom came, more rooms were added to the residence, and it became the town's first hotel. The Central Hotel's first proprietor proudly displayed his name on a sign that extended up to the second floor of his business, J. J. Duff.
Duff then purchased a lot across the street from the hotel and began to build his family a replacement residence. The family was forced to move into the house before it was completed because a fire had destroyed the Central Hotel. Blankets covered door spaces and muslin covered the windows. Workman continued but were held up by illness in the new home. Then, in October 1890, Jerome Duff passed away and the house plan was never completed for a bath and porch at the rear. Later a bath was installed in the back hallway. The kitchen and dining room were in the basement with water connections. The play rooms were in the attic. There were large airy bedrooms and the "Parlor," (first room, right of entrance) was enhanced by an unusual mantel of marbleized metal.
The house was not considered a hotel, but after Mr. Duff's passing, some of his friends from the original Central Hotel came as paying guests, among whom were teachers, preachers, lawyers, as well as other professional people.
During the winter of 1893, Elizabeth Morris, a little girl from the hills whom many people think was the model for June Tolliver, the heroine of "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" lived in the home and attended Stonega Academy's Primary Department.
This home was also open to ministers of all denominations and was quite a dropping-in place for the young people for evenings of music, fames, social life and good fellowship.
Today the house is known as the June Tolliver House & Folk Art Center, in honor of the central character in John Fox's Jr.'s book "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine." The house is located on the street named in Duff's honor, Jerome Street.