Year of the Virginia Historic Home
Discover the stories, personalities and history behind some of Virginia’s oldest properties as Prince William & Manassas historians launch special programs to celebrate the Year of the Virginia Historic Home.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Executive Mansion, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a proclamation last fall to make 2013 the Year of the Virginia Historic Home. Virginia features more than 100 historic homes, including five in Prince William & Manassas that have been transformed into public museums.
Travel through history July 20 when the Prince William Historic Preservation Division will host a day-long bus tour of public and private historic homes. The tour includes the privately owned Bel Air Plantation where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were once guests and lunch at Rippon Lodge, which is part of the Underground Network to Freedom program.
Or, visit in August when admission fees to Ben Lomond Historic Site, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre and Rippon Lodge will be waived. The sites will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday –Monday, with tours every hour.
A plantation turned Civil War hospital, Ben Lomond is now an interactive museum were visitors can try on period clothing read the graffiti wounded soldiers left behind and walk inside one of the only public slave quarters left in Northern Virginia.
The Brentsville historic centre is a 28-acre site, which includes a historic courthouse, jail, one-room schoolhouse, Union church and ca. 1850 Haislip-Hall House. Tour the various properties and watch preservation in action at the reputedly haunted jail, which historians are currently restoring.
The City of Manassas will also open its historic home- Liberia Plantation- for 1:30 p.m. tours on Thursdays and Sundays through the summer. During the weekend of Aug. 24, it will also be open for free as the city hosts its annual Civil War commemoration weekend. Liberia was once the largest plantation in Prince William, with almost 90 slaves. Later, it served as the headquarters for both Union and Confederate troops. President Lincoln also made a trip to Liberia to confer with his general during the Civil War.
A trip through Prince William & Manassas would not be complete without a stop at The Weems-Botts Museum. Once home to the biographer for George Washington, this museum and is now said to be haunted by a child and Civil War soldiers. It was recently featured on Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story.”
For more information and to view other events to commemorate The Year of the Virginia Historic Home, visit our event calendar.