Commanding a sweeping vista of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Long Branch was once the center of a 5,619-acre tract of land inherited by Captain Robert Carter Burwell, a descendant of Robert “King” Carter. When Burwell began construction of the two-story, Flemish bond brick house around 1810, he sought the advice of architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who sent plans in 1811 several months after the foundations were laid. Latrobe suggested rearranging some of the interior spaces as well as adding a service staircase. The house was not completed by the time Burwell died in 1813. The two porticos, one Doric and one Ionic, and the elaborate Greek Revival interior woodwork were added after the property was purchased in 1842 by a descendant of Burwell, Major Hugh Mortimer Nelson and his wife, Adelaide. Much of the first-floor trim is copied from Minard Lafever's The Beauties of Modern Architecture (1835). A dramatic spiral staircase rises three stories, allowing natural light from the belvedere to fill the central hall. By the mid-twentieth century, after several owners, Long Branch had fallen into disrepair. It was purchased in 1986 by Harry Z. Isaacs, a Baltimore textile executive, who restored the house, added the west wing, and transformed the acreage into a working horse farm. Before he died in 1990, Isaacs established a private nonprofit foundation to manage the property. The house and a 390-acre horse farm surrounding it are open for tours and special events.
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