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DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

Erected ca. 1815, Clifton was originally the home of Maj. John Alexander, a veteran of the War of 1812 who served as a trustee of nearby Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) from 1812 to 1853. Alexander’s widow sold Clifton to Louisville, Ky. lawyer William Preston Johnston, who served as Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s aide-de-camp during the Civil War. Invited by Robert E. Lee to join the Washington College faculty, Johnston served as full professor until 1872. While residing at Clifton, Johnston penned a biography of his father, Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston. Johnston later served as the first president of Tulane University. On a hill overlooking the Maury River, the imposing house with its molded brick cornice is a characteristic example of a gentry homestead of the region. The two-level portico, a 20th-century addition, was designed by architect Thomas W. S. Craven.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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

For additional information Read

Nomination Form


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