Dominating a hilltop in Rappahannock County with broad views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and anchoring the Ben Venue Rural Historic District, Ben Venue, well known for its row of brick slave houses (shown), is one of the region’s more complete antebellum plantation complexes. The two-story brick house was completed in 1846 for William V. Fletcher and is attributed to James Leake Powers, a local builder. Its parapet gables, corbeled shoulders, and chimneys, oddly placed against the front wall, lend the house architectural distinction. The three brick slave houses, lining a ridge in a field to the south, are among several stylistically related outbuildings related to African American history. Like the main house, the slave houses at Ben Venue have parapet gables and corbeled shoulders. Their placement and detailing suggest that they were intended as picturesque features of a scenic view. Slave quarters rarely are found in the Piedmont uplands; no others in the state possess such architectural refinement as those at Ben Venue.
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