Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

141-0001 Avenel

Photo credit: Calder Loth/DHR, 1994

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/11/1991

NRHP Listing Date 01/30/1992

DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

NRHP Reference Number 92000003

Bedford’s premier historic residence, Avenel was begun in 1835 for Frances Steptoe Burwell and William M. Burwell, son of William A. Burwell, secretary to Thomas Jefferson. William M. Burwell served in the Virginia legislature and was an emissary to Mexico. His prominence in the local political scene made Avenel a focal point of Bedford social life. An articulate blend of Federal and Greek Revival styling, the imposing house exemplifies how skilled local craftsmen used designs from pattern books such as Asher Benjamin’s Practical House Carpenter (1830) to embellish the interior. An interesting characteristic is the division of the interior into two nearly equal halves, each with its own formal staircase. Originally the nucleus of a plantation, the house is now part of a turn-of-the-20th-century residential neighborhood and a contributing property in the Bedford Historic District. In 1985 Avenel was acquired by the Avenel Foundation, which restored the house for public use.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: September 15, 2021