Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

002-5045 Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District

Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District
Photo credit: Jennifer Hallock, 2007

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/06/2007

NRHP Listing Date 11/28/2007

NRHP Reference Number 07001236

Settled largely by wealthy Tidewater Virginians as they pushed into the colony’s western frontier in the 1720s, the 83,000-plus acres in the Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District initially developed slowly. Large land patents, fertile soil, and a primarily slave-driven agricultural economy based on tobacco production inspired initial European settlement in the region. Settlement patterns were strongly tied to transportation routes including waterways, early roads, canals and turnpikes, creating an intricate system that remains primarily intact and continues to affect modern circulation and growth patterns. The resulting settlement patterns included distinct plantations and farmsteads as well as scattered rural villages, tied to both river trade and overland travel. The district’s history, associated with Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, descendants of both Robert “King” Carter and John Coles, and Lottie Moon, among others, and its architecture, ranging from high-style mansions to small farm buildings, represent the gradual shift from agricultural dominance to a diversified, broad-based economy (see this 2019 report for more information on commercial and industrial resources in the district). The district includes properties such as Monticello, Ash Lawn, and many important Colonial Revival–period houses, as well as archaeological sites illuminating colonial as well as Native American history. At the time of its listing, Southern Albemarle was the largest historic district in Virginia.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: August 10, 2021