Shirley Plantation

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Shirley
Shirley Plantation 2006.jpg
Main house of Shirley Plantation, July 2006
Shirley Plantation is located in Virginia
Shirley Plantation
Location 5 mi. N of Hopewell off VA 608, Hopewell, Virginia
Coordinates 37°21′21″N 77°14′39″W / 37.35583°N 77.24417°W / 37.35583; -77.24417Coordinates: 37°21′21″N 77°14′39″W / 37.35583°N 77.24417°W / 37.35583; -77.24417
Built c. 1723
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Georgian
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 69000328 [1]
VLR # 018-0022
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 1, 1969
Designated NHL April 15, 1970[3]
Designated VLR November 5, 1968[2]

Shirley Plantation is an estate located on the north bank of the James River in Charles City County, Virginia. It is located on State Route 5, a scenic byway which runs between the independent cities of Richmond and Williamsburg. Shirley Plantation is the oldest active plantation in Virginia and is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in North America, dating back to 1614 with operations starting in 1638.[4] The plantation was added to the National Register in 1969 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.

History[edit]

The lands of Shirley Plantation were first settled in 1613 by Sir Thomas West, 3rd Baron De la Warr and were named West and Sherley Hundred. The land was cultivated for growing tobacco to be shipped around the colonies and England.

In 1638, a portion of this land was granted to Edward Hill, thus beginning the occupation of the Hill family. The original 450-acre (180 ha) plot was expanded due to marriage and gradual land acquisition. The land passed to Edward Hill II who was owner during Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. Edward Hill II sided with Governor William Berkeley, and Bacon's rebels proceeded to plunder Edward's home. The land was then inherited by Edward Hill III in 1700. Edward Hill III's only son Edward Hill IV, died at 16 of consumption, leaving no male heirs. The property reverted to Edward Hill III's youngest daughter Elizabeth who married John Carter (eldest son of Robert "King" Carter), in October 1723. Construction of the present mansion and outbuildings in began c. 1723. The mansion, called the "Great House" was completed in 1738 and was located close to the original house built by the Hills.

The house has been occupied by the Hill Carter family since 1738 and has housed 8 generations.[5] It was at Shirley that Ann Hill Carter was born, and on June 18, 1793 married Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee in the mansion's parlor. The couple would later become parents to the famous Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The house is largely in its original state and is owned, operated, and lived in by direct descendants of Edward Hill I. The house was placed on the National Register in 1969 and recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The upper floors are occupied by members of the eleventh generation of the Hill Carter family, while the bottom floor is open for touring every day from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. [6]

Architecture[edit]

Exterior[edit]

The Shirley Plantation, c. 1900-1906. Photo by William Henry Jackson.

The three story "Great House" is constructed in the Georgian style with red brick walls and white trim boards on a square foundation. The house has no actual front door, as both the riverside and courtyard side entrances contain a two story portico with Doric columns supporting a pediment. The entrance is located in the center, framed by a pair of long rectangular windows on either side. The hipped roof rests on an entablature containing dentil moldings. The roof is broken up by dormers and two large brick chimneys. In the center of the roof is a white pedestal supporting an overturned pineapple.[7]

The house is surrounded by several support buildings, including a two-story kitchen with living quarters for slaves,[8] a two-story laundry with living quarters, a smokehouse, a stable building, an ice house, a large storehouse, and a dovecote. These buildings all frame the central house, lending to the majesty of the building and creating a Queen Anne Forecourt.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginiaa Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Shirley". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  4. ^ McCormack, Kathy (2 August 2010). "After 378 years, NH family farm goes up for sale" (Press release). Dover, New Hampshire. Associated Press. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Shirley Plantation". Visitwilliamsburg.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  6. ^ "Welcome to Shirley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia. America's Oldest Family Business and Virginia's Oldest Plantation. History for eleven generations since 1613". Shirleyplantation.com. Retrieved 2012-08-08. 
  7. ^ unknown (undated). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Shirley Plantation".  Check date values in: |date= (help) and Accompanying photo
  8. ^ "Slavery and Servitude". Shirley's History. Shirley Plantation. Retrieved 6 January 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Masson, Kathryn & Brooke, Steven; Historic Houses of Virginia: Great Plantation Houses, Mansions, and Country Places; Rizzoli International Publications; New York City, New York; 2006 ISBN 0-8478-2861-1
  • Gleason, David King; Virginia Plantation Homes; Louisiana State Press; Baton Roughe, Louisiana; 1989 ISBN 0-8071-1570-3
  • Roberts, Bruce; Plantation Homes of the James River; University of North Carolina Press; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; 1990 ISBN 0-8078-1879-8

External links[edit]