Skip to content

Visit L.P.H.

The whimsical 6,000 square-foot house is a showcase for the progressive eccentricities of the Laphams, his architect Tudor Rommerdall, and the late Victorian era in general.

Take A Tour

Guests will receive a guided tour of all three floors (mobility permitting) of the Lapham-Patterson House and learn about the residents, architecture, and technology of the 1885 Resort Era “cottage.”

Thomasville History Center members receive free admission to the Lapham-Patterson House for themselves and their guests.

General Adult


Student (6-17)


Journey Pass Adult


Journey pass Student (6-17)


Rent Our Space

A stunningly unique setting to hold your next event. The Lapham-Patterson House is available for all of your small and medium-sized banquet and event needs.

Rose Package


Camellia Package


Magnolia Package


Stay The Night

What a place! You can spend time in this one-of-a-kind historic home. This suite, located in the wing of a National Landmark includes two rooms and a Jack and Jill bathroom. The primary room has a king bed, the guest room has a queen sleeper sofa and comfortable reading chairs. Suite opens to a charming backyard patio.

The house is within walking distance of Thomasville’s unique historic downtown. The house is located in the heart of the Dawson Street National Register District.

Use AirBnB/Vrbo Links to book!

vrbo-logo-copy-1 (1)

“Thank you so much for arranging for us to come and decorate. My students had a wonderful time!  The gentleman who showed us around was fantastic, and we had a blast exploring while we decorated”

— Museum Volunteer

House & Family Histories

House History

History of the Lapham-Patterson House

Danish immigrant Jens Peter Theodore “Tudor” Rommerdall was the architect and builder of the Lapham-Patterson House. Rommerdall came to Thomasville from Chicago around 1884, and within a few short years was regarded as a prominent contractor. He built public buildings as well as private homes before his premature death in a construction accident in 1887, while building a brick water tower on the grounds of the Thomas County Courthouse.

The House cost $4,500.00 to build and took eleven months to complete. The bright yellow exterior paint with its burgundy and cream trim was the Laphams’ selection and a popular choice for 1880s homes. The Pattersons painted the home white, but the State re-painted it in the original colors in the early years of the museum’s operations.

The House’s architecture best matches the Spindlework subtype of the Queen Anne style (c.1880-1910) with its asymmetrical plan, variety of colors and textures, windows of every kind, shape, and size, multiple roof levels, porches that wrap around the front and side, decorative gables, frequent use of bay windows, and decorative brick chimneys. The structure has been nicknamed “Mr. Lapham’s Whimsy” for its oddities.

There are no two rooms alike; in fact, little in the cottage is symmetrical or centered. This oddity may be due to the prevailing Queen Anne style of architecture in which variety and freedom of expression were encouraged. Builders of Spindlework Queen Anne homes took advantage of the emergence of mass-produced building materials, the ease of transporting those goods by railroad, and popular pattern books for inspiration. As a result, the style is known for elaborate ornamentation inside and outside. The use of balloon framing instead of large timber framing in construction allowed for this asymmetrical floor plan.

As a survivor of the Chicago Fire, Charles Lapham wanted to make the winter cottage as safe as possible. His pyrophobia may explain why amongst the 19 rooms totaling approximately 6,000 square feet, 24 of the 45 doors lead to the exterior. This means that every room has at least one exit. Most of the 53 windows’ top and bottom sashes open, and several rooms have direct access to a porch or balcony.

The Lapham-Patterson House presents a unique picture to its many visitors, but it is the accumulation of details together which make this building one of a kind. When the Lapham-Patterson House was designated a National Historic Landmark it was said:

The House speaks for itself as an unusually individualistic and vivid record of an era when people attempted to outdo one another in the creativity brought to the eclectic, picturesque, and romantic Resort cottage…

Innovative in form and construction, it is in every detail an architectural tour-de-force and one of the most exuberant houses in Thomasville. The story of the house, its preservation, and its value within the study of Thomasville’s Resort Era sets it apart from other homes in the community and across the state.

Sign up to get interesting news and updates delivered to your inbox.