Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

018-0036 Belle Air

Belle Air
Photo credit: Grace Heffelfinger/DHR, 1973

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 01/15/1974

NRHP Listing Date 07/18/1974

NRHP Reference Number 74002232

The original five-bay portion of the modest Charles City County plantation house of Belle Air illustrates in its form and construction details the transition from 17th-century building methods to 18th-century ones. The exposed interior framing with summer beam and the heavy closed-string stair railing are characteristic of the 17th century. The symmetrical fa├žade and center-passage floor plan are harbingers of standard 18th-century forms. The three-bay western section was added ca. 1800. Because of destruction of Charles City County records, Belle Air’s construction date is difficult to document. Daniel Clarke purchased the property in 1662 and the house could have been built for him or his progeny. Whatever its date, Belle Air is a unique surviving example in Virginia of a wooden house with post-medieval-type exposed interior framing. Belle Air is also likely the oldest plantation dwelling along Virginia’s historic Route 5.

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: April 26, 2022