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The vibrancy that American architects gave to the Italian Villa style is no better shown than in Mayhurst, described by architectural historian William B. O’Neal as “a delicious Victorian fantasy.” The architect has not been recorded; however, its stylistic similarity to Camden in Caroline County has led to its attribution to Norris G. Starkweather of Baltimore. The designer might also have been Charles Haskins of Haskins and Anderson of Washington, D. C., who designed the Italian Villa-style Orange County Courthouse. The tall structure, decked out with a bracketed cornice, rusticated wood siding, and a cupola terminating in a scroll ornamented finial, illustrates the mid-19th-century taste for the exotic. The Orange County house was commissioned by Col. John Willis, a great nephew of James Madison, and was begun in 1859. Restored as an inn at the time of its listing in the registers, Mayhurst retains its park-like setting.

Last Updated: April 21, 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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