Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

041-0004 Berry Hill

Berry Hill
Photo credit: Calder Loth/DHR, 2002

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 11/05/1968

NRHP Listing Date 11/25/1969

NHL Listing Date 11/11/1971

DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easements

NRHP Reference Number 69000246

A premier monument of the American Greek Revival, Berry Hill’s imposing mansion was erected in 1842-44 for James Coles Bruce, one of Virginia’s most affluent antebellum planters. Its architect, John E. Johnson, also designed the Gothic Revival mansion Staunton Hill for Bruce’s half-brother Charles Bruce. Berry Hill’s contractor was Josiah Dabbs. The house stands in a broad, semi-circular landscaped park in Halifax County, and is flanked by porticoed dependencies forming a dramatic architectural ensemble. The fa├žade is dominated by a heroic octastyle portico in the Doric order of the Parthenon. No less impressive is the lofty interior with its grand divided stair, ornamental ceilings medallions, and imported marble mantels. A colonnaded service wing projects from the rear of Berry Hill. This remarkably preserved plantation retains significant outbuildings, both sites and ruins of numerous slave quarters, and one of the state’s largest cemeteries for enslaved African Americans.

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: August 10, 2022