Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

005-0018 Sweet Briar House

Sweet Briar House
Photo credit: DHR, 2001

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 05/01/1972

NRHP Listing Date 09/15/1970

NRHP Reference Number 70000783

Elijah Fletcher, publisher of the Lynchburg Virginian and mayor of the city, purchased this early 19th-century farmhouse in 1825 for a weekend retreat. His wife, Maria Crawford Fletcher, renamed it Sweet Briar for the wild roses there. In 1851 the Fletchers transformed the plain Federal-style house into a major expression of the Italian Villa style, adding square towers, veranda, and arcaded portico. The design, based on a design by Richard Upjohn published in Andrew Jackson Downing’s Architecture of Country Houses (1850), may have been the choice of Fletcher’s daughter, Indiana, whom Fletcher credited with the project. Indiana Fletcher Williams inherited Sweet Briar and directed in her will that the property was to become a school for young women. Sweet Briar College thus received its charter in 1901. The house since has served as the home of the college presidents.

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

Updated: June 15, 2021