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c. 1817–1822, Thomas Jefferson. VA 678 (.5 mile east from VA 20). Access via the main office of the winery
  • Barboursville
  • Barboursville
  • Barboursville
  • Barboursville
  • Barboursville
  • Barboursville
  • Barboursville

The house burned on Christmas Day, 1884, leaving one of the most romantic and evocative ruins in the country. The visitor, however, can appreciate Jefferson's original scheme for the main house of a large plantation for James Barbour (1775–1842), governor, senator, and minister to the Court of St. James. The drawings, now in the Massachusetts Historical Society, called for an octagonal dome and balustrade that were never built. The north side, which is the approach, has a turf ramp that helps to create the appearance a single-story villa, even though the structure is a large three-story dwelling. The Roman Doric portico (duplicated on the south) gave access to an impressive two-story hexagonal reception room and an octagonal drawing room. University of Virginia students, led by Professor Mario di Valmarana, stabilized the ruins in 1976. To the north of the house the outlines of Barbour's racetrack can be seen. To the west of the house and built into the hillside are a pair of large brick dependencies with two-story brick columns that support galleries on the south elevations. They underscore the importance of service buildings to the main house and farm. Barboursville is now part of a winery.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Barboursville", [Barboursville, 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, 130-131.

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