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Ben Venue

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1844–1846, attributed to James Leake Powers. Intersection of U.S. 211 and VA 729 (north .2 mile for better view)

Commanding tremendous views to the west, the main house, a five-bay brick composition with a parapet gable roof and a one-story, three-bay Doric portico, is one of the most elaborate houses of its decade in Virginia. The owner, William V. Fletcher, obviously had a strong ego. Across Virginia 729 stand three identical slave houses, unusual in that they survive, in their brick construction (most slave housing was of wood), and in their detailing, with their parapet gable roofs and exterior end chimneys. The arrangement of the slave houses in such a prominent position, rather than to the rear or hidden, as was the common practice, indicates their role as part of the landscape composition: picturesque foreground elements with a broad view beyond.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Ben Venue", [, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 119-119.

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