By in Travel

Shirley Plantation

I love old houses. There's just something special about them. Whether historically significant or just a plain old farm house, each has it's own tales to tell.

Shirley Plantation, in Charles City, Virginia, between and , is the oldest plantation in Virginia, founded in 1613, just seven years after the founding of Jamestown. It is still owned and occupied by the eleventh generation of Hill-Carter descendents, and is the oldest family business still in operation in the United States.

The Carters of Virginia were a prominent family in early American history. Carter descendents include US Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, and numerous American military figures, including General Robert E. Lee.

Construction on the Great House, which faces the James River, was begun in 1723 and completed in 1738. On the land side, the Great House, Kitchen, Laundry House, Ice House, and Storage Building form the only known example of a Queen Anne Forecourt in the US. The flying rigged staircase in the Great House rises three stories with no visible means of support.

All photos were taken by me on my last trip to Shirley Plantation.

Photo (c) 2008 by Debbi Craton. May not be used without permission. All rights reserved.

Two pairs of twin outbuildings along with the Great House form the Queen Anne Courtyard.

Left: the Kitchen and Ice House.

Right: the Laundry House and Storage Building (not visible).

Photo (c) 2008 by Debbi Craton. May not be used without permission. All rights reserved.

The willow oak beside the James River is over 350 years old.

Photo (c) 2008 by Debbi Craton. May not be used without permission. All rights reserved.

My favorite of the animals at Shirley is "Tunneh" the tabby, who was hanging out in the kitchen while tourist-watching.

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Sources:

http://www.shirleyplantation.com/

http://shirleyplantation.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShirleyPlantation?hc_location=stream

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This article was formerly published on Bubblews.

Content (c) 2013 by Debbi Craton. May not be used without permission. All rights reserved.

Photos (c) 2008 by Debbi Craton. May not be used without permission. All rights reserved.


Image Credit » Photo (c) 2008 by Debbi Craton. May not be used without permission. All rights reserved.

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Comments

AngelSharum wrote on November 17, 2014, 5:35 PM

Looks like a nice place. Bet I'd have fun taking pics there.

LynnWrites wrote on November 17, 2014, 6:37 PM

Wow, what a beautiful building. I'd really love to see it someday. We haven't anything near that old here, what a joy to be able to photograph it!

seren3 wrote on November 17, 2014, 6:37 PM

A beautiful place! I love historically preserved homesteads.

Ellis wrote on November 17, 2014, 7:09 PM

I wouldn't mind a little place in the country like this...but only if they throw in the cat.. Nice pics..

carmela wrote on November 17, 2014, 7:59 PM

the houses look great and i also love the landscaping. its just perfect

BarbRad wrote on November 17, 2014, 8:10 PM

Beautiful photos. I wonder how I missed this the one time we were in the area for a home school convention. I love that huge oak by the river, and, of course, the photo of Tunneh.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:01 PM

You would! I have tons more pics, and I promise they're not all of the cat.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:03 PM

Shirley celebrated 400 years last year. I love visiting places like that.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:03 PM

Me, too!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:05 PM

I do love that cat, for more reasons than one. I love tabbies, she looks so much like Guiness's late sister Norma, and I got my second purple star on Squidoo for a post on her.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:07 PM

I just scratched the surface on the landscaping! The yard extends all the way to the river. If you watched the series TURN on AMC, there were some good shots of it--shots I had very similar photos of. It was fun watching something that was filmed somewhere I had been.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:12 PM

There are a lot of historic plantations on the James River. I was able to visit just two of them. I'd love to go back. I thought of you when I uploaded the oak, which has it's own Facebook page, by the way. Tunneh looks so much like my Norma, it's sad. There's also a b&w cat named Sugah, but I didn't meet her that day.

sheilagamo wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:15 PM

Wow I love old houses too. I also like antiques.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 17, 2014, 9:57 PM

A lot of the furnishings are original to the house since only one family has ever lived in it.

Madcanman wrote on November 18, 2014, 5:42 AM

Absolutely beautiful photos, my friend. I, too love old houses. My wife and I have seen some beautiful homesteads since moving south. In another life I used to own a rambling, slightly dilapidated Victorian farmhouse up in southern New Hampshire. Though I don't miss some of the things that occurred there during a miserable marriage I miss the house, including all the restoration efforts that I never got to finish. They just don't build things like they used to.

chatombreux wrote on November 18, 2014, 6:49 AM

I've been to Jamestown and I've been to Richmond, but I never knew about this plantation. I have one ancestor who settled in James City (pre-Jamestown) and was a member of the Burgesses. It is through his grandson that my family descends here in New Jersey.

idyll wrote on November 18, 2014, 11:09 PM

The place looks very cool and green. I like to see such kind of scenes which make our mind to calm down.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 18, 2014, 11:20 PM

I lived in an apartment in a Victorian house when I was in college. I nearly froze in the winter, but I loved it.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 18, 2014, 11:21 PM

That is so cool.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 18, 2014, 11:22 PM

I'll have to post more of the photos.

celticeagle wrote on November 19, 2014, 2:07 AM

Love old houses too, especially Victorian ones. Great pictures. Someday I might figure out how to do the multi-picture thing. Loved the one with the cat.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 19, 2014, 9:44 AM

Oh now I want to get in the car and go there. I love places like this and would surely dream of being able to live there. I would even let the cat stay!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 19, 2014, 10:53 PM

Thanks. Multiple pictures isn't very hard once you figure it out, but it is time-consuming waiting for the pictures to load.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on November 19, 2014, 10:58 PM

I've been there twice, and I'd love to go back. I'd also like to visit some of the other plantations in the area that I haven't seen yet.

celticeagle wrote on November 20, 2014, 7:58 AM

Do you know where I might go to get instructions?

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 20, 2014, 9:33 AM

Here's hoping that you do get to go visit other plantations and will let all of us get a glimpse of them too. I enjoy seeing pictures of places I can only dream of visiting!

maxeen wrote on November 27, 2014, 5:17 PM

I am wondering where the name Shirley came from(hope i read correctly) There is a Shirley (district) in Birmingham ,UK.

PeggyWds wrote on December 31, 2014, 4:43 PM

I have never been to the State of Virginia but this would certainly be a wonderful place to visit should my travels ever take me in that direction. Thanks for introducing me to the Shirley Plantation. Great photos!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on January 1, 2015, 12:59 AM

You're welcome. I'd love to go back and revisit some of the places I've been with the mindset of writing about them instead of just playing tourist. So much I wish I'd paid more attention to and took more photos of!

JohnRoberts wrote on January 15, 2015, 11:46 AM

Very nice. I assume there are tours as I enjoy touring old homes. Great looking kitty!

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on January 15, 2015, 2:12 PM

Shirley has a very interesting tour of the first floor, giving a lot of details about the house, history, family, etc. I loved it.