One of Richmond's distinguished residential addresses was developed by T. C. Williams, Jr., the owner of the original farm, a prominent Richmonder, and an ardent Anglophile. In the mid-1920s he hired Allen Saville, a local engineer, and John Nolen, a Boston-based landscape architect and planner, to recreate an English village in Virginia. Nolen's previous experience with subdivisions served him well, and the semicircular plan of intersecting streets is as charming as it is confusing to navigate. The early development team eventually included Henry Grant Morse, a New York architect who excelled at the details that articulated Williams's vision.
The plan included a village green and a few public buildings intended to create a sense of community. The land along the river was divided into larger lots than the rest of the tract, and these were developed early. Two of the first houses, Williams's Agecroft Hall and his nextdoor neighbors' Virginia House, were historic English houses that were purchased, dismantled into labeled parts, and shipped across the
Though Williams envisioned a village with English vernacular architecture, the Georgian image that the period conjured in the minds of the clients and the influence of Colonial Williamsburg overwhelmed Williams's ideas. The development today is dominated by Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival houses, although a scattering of the English vernacular architecture that Williams encouraged offers some variety. The neighborhood was carefully marketed, and many sales brochures extolled the natural beauty of the land and the artistic interpretation of the developers. The author of several early brochures and booklets almost comically embellished the historic importance of the land, at one point writing, “It is land whose every clod and stone could tell a story, if clods and stones could speak.” The landscaping, lighting, brick sidewalks, public spaces, and winding roads were described poetically, and prospective buyers were reassured that a design review committee would rule out any inappropriate plans. The early vision included a tearoom on the village green, staffed by local socialites dressed in appropriate costumes; a small shop that sold crafts created or collected by locals (Morse's idea); and a charming firehouse. Williams sponsored a literary and social magazine, The Black Swan, which followed Richmond's latest fads. It included many essays on the romantic and scenic qualities of the growing community.
Williams's original farmhouse was demolished and replaced in the late 1940s with an uninspired Neo-Georgian house. Windsor Farms has remained the desirable address that Williams envisioned.