Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

065-0003 Brownsville

Photo credit: Elizabeth Lipford/DHR, 2017

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/02/1969

NRHP Listing Date 02/26/1970

NRHP Reference Number 70000819

On a remote edge of the Eastern Shore’s broad oceanside marshes in Northampton County is the surprisingly urbane Federal-style residence of Brownsville, built in 1806 for John Upshur. Upshur’s ancestor John Browne, from whom the property derives its name, patented the land here in 1652. In 1809 Upshur added a long wooden wing to Brownsville to accommodate visiting relatives. The side-passage brick house is one of several Eastern Shore Federal-style houses boasting design, construction, and detailing of highest quality. A novel interior feature is the unusually wide arch supporting the stair. Also noteworthy are the fine woodwork and the Adamesque composition ornaments on the mantels. Brownsville remained in the hands of Upshur’s descendants until 1978 when it was acquired and restored by the Nature Conservancy as an operations center for its Eastern Shore barrier islands conservation program.

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: January 25, 2022