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Sweet Briar House

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c. 1810; 1851–1852 remodeled
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (Virginia Department of Historic Resources)

The property evolved from a farm and two-story brick house that Lynchburg mayor and publisher of the Lynchburg Virginian Elijah Fletcher purchased in 1830. His wife, Marie Antoinette, named the house Sweet Briar for its many wild roses. The Fletchers remodeled the Federal house into an impressive Italian Villa that is now the home of the college's president. Reputedly using a plan by their daughter, Indiana, the Fletchers added a pedimented and arcaded central portico with two tiers, and linked this and the existing house to three-story end towers by a veranda beneath a balustraded balcony. The result is a building of powerful geometric masses connected by airy verandas. They painted the whole a buff-colored yellow with white trim. Indiana eventually inherited the place and directed that at her death the estate be used to found a school for young women.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Sweet Briar House", [Amherst, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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