Willa Cather Birthplace
Historical Highway Marker
Virginia Landmarks Register
September 21, 1976
National Register of Historic Places
November 16, 1978
Route 50 at Gore
Born here in 1873, Willa Cather later moved down the road a bit to Willow Shade. At the age of nine, Cather and her family relocated to Nebraska, where she learned much about the prairie life later documented in her short stories and novels. Among the most famous writings of her catalog are O Pioneers! and Death Comes for the Archbishop.
TEXT OF HIGHWAY MARKER
"Here Willa Sibert Cather, the novelist, was born December 7, 1873. This community was her home until 1883 when her family moved to Nebraska. Nearby on Back Creek stands the old mill described in her novel "Sapphira and the Slave Girl."
TEXT OF ENTRY ON VIRGINIA LANDMARKS REGISTER
"American novelist and short-story writer Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in this plain weatherboarded log house in the tiny community of Gore west of Winchester. The next year the infant Willa was taken by her parents to live at Willow Shade nearby. In 1883 the family moved to Red Cloud, Neb., where she spent her formative years. In her writings Cather concentrated on the pioneer traditions of the Nebraska prairie and the deserts of the Southwest, emphasizing the themes of courage, struggle, and respect for the land. She received the Pulitzer Prize for her novel One of Ours (1922). Cather's Virginia birthplace was built in the early 19th century by her great-grandfather Jacob Seibert. It was enlarged and remodeled ca. 1850. The house was owned and occupied by her maternal grandmother, Rachel E. Boak, when her parents were married here in 1872."