Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

062-0428 Pharsalia

Photo credit: Sandi Esposito, 2008

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 03/19/2009

NRHP Listing Date 06/03/2009

NRHP Reference Number 09000395

The property at Pharsalia, apart from its impressive 1814 unusual Federal-style mansion, contains one of the best collections of antebellum plantation buildings in Nelson County, including a kitchen, slave quarters, and other farm buildings. The main house is currently T-shaped and features a prominent offset pediment above the original roof structure. The original owner of the plantation, William Massie, was a well-known miller, plantation owner, and businessman, but he is best remembered for his creation of the first commercial orchard in Nelson County. Massie was a meticulous record keeper regarding his business and personal dealings, and his records have been invaluable in reconstructing what life was like on the plantation. By the time of his death in 1862, Massie had 170 enslaved individuals working his substantial orchards and the three mills he owned. After his death the Pharsalia property was run by his fourth wife Maria, until her death in 1889.

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: February 25, 2022