Built in the 1790s, the Tharpe House was the urban face of John Tharpe’s vast sugar plantations, located about 8 miles inland on the Martha Brae River. From this house, Tharpe could oversee his wharf, the shipping arm of his plantation enterprises. The residential quarters of the house are on the upper story with rooms sheltered by a series of small hipped roofs. The multiple smaller roofs were indicative of Caribbean architecture and reflect an accommodation to hurricane force winds; small, low roofs present less face to resist the wind. And replacement cost of one or two small roofs was also less expensive than whole roof replacement. A wing, extending from the back of the house, originally housed domestic slaves.
“Tharpe House,” The Falmouth Project, accessed January 16, 2018, http://falmouth.lib.virginia.edu/items/show/1560.