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Historic Smithfield Plantation

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1775–1776; 1963–1965 restoration. 1000 Smithfield Plantation Rd.

Smithfield, the eighteenth-century plantation house of William and Susanna Smith Preston, was restored by a local branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) and now serves as a museum commemorating colonial and early republic settlement. In 1773 Preston, an influential regional political leader, moved from Botetourt County to the fertile land at Stroubles Creek and established the nineteen-hundred-acre plantation. The Prestons' elaborate L-shaped wooden house effectively functioned as a secondary seat of governmental authority. The front section of the one-and-a-half-story house has a Flemish bond brick exterior chimney, while the rear wing is heated by an interior chimney that is exposed decoratively as it rises within the wall. The entrance on the five-bay facade leads into a center passage that is part of a complex, rambling, five-room plan. Interior details include paneled wainscoting, elaborate chimneypieces, and Chinese Chippendale latticed stair rails. The finished upper floor is lit by the region's only early dormers. The rare use of expensive Tidewater forms and construction methods here indicates that eastern building methods were occasionally employed in the changing social and political context of late-eighteenth-century western Virginia. The house, now open to the public, includes a kitchen garden and orchard. The Garden Club of Virginia restored the garden in 1984.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Anne Carter Lee
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Citation

Anne Carter Lee, "Historic Smithfield Plantation", [Blacksburg, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VA-02-MO18.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 436-436.

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