Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

051-0001 Belle Isle

Belle Isle
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 03/02/1971

NRHP Listing Date 02/06/1973

NPS property number 73002031

The formal, symmetrical arrangement of buildings and gardens of the great Tidewater colonial seats is present on a reduced scale at Belle Isle, a Rappahannock River plantation named for a marshy island formerly part of the property. The complex includes a compact Georgian manor house flanked by two perpendicularly placed dependencies. The grounds preserve original terraces for formal gardens. The complex was probably built for Thomas Bertrand Griffin following his marriage to Judith Burwell of Carter’s Grove in 1766. One story wings were added around 1790 during the ownership of Rawleigh Downman. Sections of the interior paneling were removed in the 1920s and later were acquired by the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum. The complex was restored in the 1940s by architectural historian Thomas T. Waterman. The curtilage remains private property but the balance of the plantation is now Belle Isle State Park.


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

Updated August 7, 2018