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Until it burned on Christmas Day, 1884, James Barbour’s home at Barboursville in Orange County stood essentially as completed ca. 1822 from designs supplied by Barbour’s friend, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson’s drawings called for a dwelling with a recessed portico on the north front and a three-part bay sheltered by a portico on the south front, with dome above—a scheme resembling Jefferson’s own home, Monticello. The dome, however, was not built. Even in its ruinous state, the house presents a romantic image of the Jeffersonian ideal, a compact but architecturally sophisticated classical villa in a carefully contrived landscape setting. The great oval in front of the house was originally a racetrack. James Barbour (1775-1842), a statesman and diplomat, held many public offices, including governor of Virginia, secretary of war, and minister to Great Britain. The stabilized ruins are now the centerpiece of one of Virginia’s first large-scale wineries, and they are located in Orange County’s Madison-Barbour Rural Historic District.

Last Updated: May 27, 2024

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

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