Barboursville, located in Orange County, Virginia, was once the plantation of the Barbour family. The house, now ruined, was originally designed by Thomas Jefferson.

The property was owned by James Barbour, a friend of Jefferson who served as Governor of Virginia, Secretary of War, and minister to Great Britain. In 1810, the two brick cottages that are still on the property were built for the Barbour family to live in while the main house was constructed.[1] The main house of the Barbour plantation was begun in 1814 and finished in 1822, built entirely from bricks made on the Barbour plantation.[2] The house included a two-story hexagonal reception room and an octagonal drawing room; Jefferson’s drawings also included an octagonal dome that was not built.[3]

On Christmas Day, 1884, the house burned. After the fire, the Barbour family descendants lived in the original brick cottages on the property, which remained in the family until 1945. The ruins of the main house have been stabilized and preserved. Today the property is part of Barboursville Vineyards; the ruins of the house can be visited free of charge.

Further Sources


  1. ^ Boyce Loving, "Ruins of Gov. Barbour’s Home Still Standing After 71 Years," The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia, September 15, 1955.
  2. ^ Ibid.
  3. ^ Richard Guy Wilson, ed., Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 130.