Now almost obscured by trees, the house sits in the middle of a subdivision on an island of earth created by the subdivision's bulldozers. The frame dwelling's original one-and-a-half-story section with five front dormers, typical of a Southside plantation house, almost certainly predates Roger Atkinson's purchases in 1757 and 1760 of tracts of land in the area. Soon thereafter, Atkinson, a wealthy English tobacco merchant with extensive real estate holdings, probably added the two-story rear ell with a connecting hyphen to his residence. The ell has one room on each floor with the first floor built as a ballroom, the largest and grandest in the county. In the 1830s, Hugh A. Garland, a biographer of John Randolph of Roanoke, ran a girls' school at Mansfield. The full-width Colonial Revival porch probably dates from an early-twentieth-century remodeling.
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