CORRECTION 4:51 P.M. — The Bixlers have asked masks be worn by guests in the first hours of the open house on Saturday for those who would like to tour the house while others have masks on.
For over a year, Benjamin and Sarah Bixler have been restoring the old Lincoln Homestead off Harpine Highway near Linville.
“It feels like we’ve turned the corner,” Benjamin Bixler said. “It’s been a lot of hard work.”
And though renovations are not yet complete, they are opening the entire home to the public one last time.
“We’re going to be moving in later this month, and we won’t want to have hundreds of people moving through the living space” regularly, Sarah Bixler said.
The Bixlers will welcome visitors into the historic Rockingham County building on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.
The home was built by Jacob Lincoln, the great-uncle of President Abraham Lincoln, in 1800, but has been uninhabited in recent years and was in a state of disrepair before the Bixlers purchased it in November 2019. An expansion to the rear of the Federal-style structure was added in 1849.
It is part of a massive patch of land that belonged to the Lincoln family for generations that is now split up between multiple parcels north of Harrisonburg.
The couple opened the house up for public tours on Feb. 12, 2020, and estimated roughly 500 to 600 people attended.
One of those was then 86-year-old Mildred Wittig, nee Renalds, who had lived in the house between 1935 and the early 1950s.
In one of the home’s two staircases, she wrote, “seven o’clock p.m. Mildred Renalds Nov. 17, 1947.”
The Bixlers said Monday that Wittig gave them a bed frame that was in the house from when her family lived at the property.
Sarah Bixler said it is not the last time members of the public will be allowed in the home, but it is the last time they will be allowed on the home’s second and third floors. She said they plan to host educational events at the home in the future.
This weekend, the Bixlers are expecting about 1,000 people to tour the home.
The Bixlers renovated the home with help from Benjamin’s parents, Lee and Mary Bixler, of central Pennsylvania. Lee has worked a career in restoration, and the Bixlers have experience in salvage and construction.