A striking exception to the normally conservative dwellings of Virginia’s plantation aristocracy is this castellated Gothic-style mansion that architect John E. Johnson designed for Staunton Hill, the vast Charlotte County estate of Charles Bruce. The design is based on a plate in an English work by Thomas Kelly: Designs for Cottage and Villa Architecture (1829). Completed in 1850, Staunton Hill’s romantic qualities are seen primarily in the crenelated parapets, polygonal corner towers, and delicate marble veranda. The dwelling stands as a significant expression of both the exoticism and the historicism that would permeate American architecture for the balance of the century. In recent years, Staunton Hill was the country home of the noted diplomat David K.E. Bruce, a descendant of Charles Bruce, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain and France and as America’s first envoy to the Peoples’ Republic of China.
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