John Saunders, a planter and merchant, had this massive frame house erected on the banks of the Rappahannock River in Essex County between 1849 and 1851. The house was attached to an earlier dwelling, now the kitchen wing. With its high basement and two-tier porticos, the main house presents a classic “Southern plantation” image. In addition to his farming activities, Saunders operated a plantation wharf, known as Saunders Wharf, within sight of the house. Here Saunders received goods for his store in Loretto and neighboring farmers bought produce for transportation to cities. Steam packets continued to call at Saunders Wharf until 1937. The present wharf building, dating from 1916, is possibly the only such structure remaining on the Rappahannock, and is now preserved as a small museum and tourist attraction. Wheatland remains the home of Saunders’s descendants and is located in the listed Occupacia-Rappahannock Rural Historic District.
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