The House on Caroline Street is a dream of mine. This particular Caroline Street is in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a street populated with beautiful homes, some pre- and some post-Civil War. There is, for example, the house that James Monroe lived in before he was president, while he had a law practice in Fredericksburg. There is the house that Betty Herndon Maury lived in when she began her diary chronicling Civil War events in Fredericksburg. The Central Rappahannock Regional Library is on Caroline Street, formerly an elementary school, as testified to by the very low door handles on the front entrance - a wonderful library with its Virginiana room at the bottom of a spiral staircase.
It is highly unlikely that I will ever have a real house on Caroline Street, so I am creating this mythical one to satisfy that longing. I have yet to decide whether my house has a cannonball embedded in its walls or a ghost; how many rooms it has, how many stories. I think it is one of the smaller Caroline Street homes, for I will live there alone and don't need much space. The most important room will be the library, which I will fill with books both physical and digital. A table - since I am dreaming I will make the table for the computer some beautiful antique. The house has, of course, updated electrical and heating/cooling systems.
Ah, a beautiful dream. A home in which I will read and read and read, immersing myself in 19th century literature. A collection of books about Fredericksburg, especially during the Civil War era, will occupy a place of prominence in my library. I will come to know the inhabitants of Fredericksburg in 1860 almost as friends. I will share their anguish as they watch their city become a focal point for the armies of both sides, share their grief at the destruction and looting of the city in December 1862; then their energy put into the rebuilding of the city after the war.
I will write here of my explorations of the city as it exists now. Fortunately I do live close enough to frequent the town and explore its many historical treasures. And who knows? Maybe some day my dream of living on Caroline Street will come true!