Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

037-5012 Dover Slave Quarter Complex

Dover Slave Quarter Complex
Photo credit: Calder Loth/DHR, 2001

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 03/14/2001

NRHP Listing Date 09/15/2002

NRHP Reference Number 02001005

The Dover Slave Quarter Complex in Goochland County is one of Virginia’s few surviving groupings of slave quarters. The five-building complex was erected after 1843 when Ellen Bruce, who owned the property, married James M. Morson and began construction of the Dover mansion. Though there were once many dwellings for enslaved African Americans in the state, this building type is now almost extinct. The Dover group’s wide-arc layout is unique in Virginia. Originally identical one-story brick structures with high-hipped roofs, each building contained two rooms served by a central chimney. The center building was enlarged; the motivation for this arrangement is thought to have been aesthetic. The cluster was positioned to form a picturesque incident in the landscape within the viewshed of the Dover mansion. The use of slave dwellings as features of a designed landscape, while very rare, was not unheard of for major antebellum plantations.

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

Updated: July 1, 2021