THE BACHELOR’S COTTAGE, circa 1821, was originally constructed as a dairy. It matched the smokehouse on the other side of the mansion to balance the plantation’s layout. Originally, the structure had a dirt floor several feet below ground level, thick plastered walls, and high vented openings to help maintain a constant cool temperature of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Enslaved people used this space to store perishable foods, such as milk and butter, for the Carter family’s consumption.
After the Civil War, the Carters turned the building into a residence for paying boarders. During renovations in the 1880s, they added a first floor at ground level, a second floor, a chimney, two windows, and a two-story porch. By the early 1900s, the Eustis family turned the structure into a guest cottage with additional windows, beadboard ceilings, indoor plumbing, and screened porches. According to oral histories, the family referred to the building as the “Bachelor’s Cottage” because Morton Eustis and his friends from Harvard University stayed here when they visited Oatlands during school breaks.
After Oatlands was donated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1965, the building served as staff offices, event preparation space, and housing for an artist-in-residence program.
Bachelor’s Cottage, c. 1890
This photograph of Oatlands’ front lawn shows the Bachelor’s Cottage with a rustic exterior staircase and second story porch, dating it to the ownership of George Jr. and his wife, Katherine Powell Carter.
Eustis children, 1909
A casual moment captured between Helen, Margaret, and Morton Eustis as they play on the lawn between the mansion and Bachelor’s Cottage.
Bachelor’s Cottage, 1937
The second floor’s original wooden siding, seen here, has since been replaced with slightly wider boards. Edith Eustis chose “bronze green” to paint both the Bachelor’s Cottage and the trim on the Chauffeur’s House. She liked the color so much, when it was discontinued, she asked the paint company to mix an entire barrel just for her.
Bachelor’s Cottage, 1951
The Eustis family added screened-in porches and an enclosed area on the second floor porch, now removed. Raymond Jewell, carpenter at Oatlands in the 1950s, recalled installing copper screen. Afterwards, he muted the bright color with lamp black and kerosene because Edith Eustis didn’t like “the look of the sun on the copper wire.”