The Federal Style Historic Sandusky House was built by Charles Johnston between 1797 and 1808. The home's name was inspired by Johnston's capture by Shawnee Indians while navigating the Ohio River. Johnston and his companions were held captive at an Indian camp near Sandusky, Ohio. The word 'Sandusky' derives from an Indian word meaning 'by the cold water.' Johnston was eventually ransomed and returned to Virginia and later wrote an account of his frontier adventures. Johnston's friend and neighbor Thomas Jefferson at nearby Poplar Forest visited and dined at Sandusky. Presidents Hayes and McKinley also stayed in the house as members of Union Gen. Hunter's staff during the Civil War.

Hunter and his army occupied Sandusky in June of 1864, and the home served as Union headquarters for a planned attack on Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's defenses of Lynchburg, a Confederate railway and supply line. The roof of Sandusky was used as a Union signal station, and the barn served as a field hospital. Yet, Early surprised the Federals with a counter-attack that caused their retreat.

Insurance policies from 1813 indicate that Historic Sandusky has not changed much over the years and appears much as it did in the 19th century. Purchased in 2000 by Hunter Family descendants for the Historic Sandusky foundation, the home is undergoing restoration to its 1864 appearance. Ongoing archeological excavation has unearthed 19th century pottery fragments, silverware, bottles and pots.

Historic Sandusky is an active archaeology site and features a visitor center, gift shop and auditorium that hosts programs, events and lectures.

Historic Sandusky offers guided tours of the house as well as self-guided tours of the museum and grounds. The museum screens a film about the Battle of Lynchburg, and the visitor center features a gift shop. Brochures are available for the self-guided Historic Sandusky Landscape Tour. The scenic tour begins at the front of house and the boxwood allee and continues through flower gardens, the archaeology dig site, and past walnut, oak, cherry and pear trees.

Sandusky's boxwood allee was planted in 1864 and may have come from clippings of the boxwoods at Poplar Forest.

Pictured at the very top: The Federal Style Historic Sandusky was built on a hill with sweeping views of the surrounding 18th century countryside.