Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Palatial Virginia Plantation With a Pedigree

Looking for new digs?  Money no object?  Do you have a Downton Abbey-type staff available to run it for you? Or better yet, are you an American television executive looking for the perfect place to set a new reality show, Brandon Plantation? Look no further than eastern Virginia on the James River where you can bid on the palatial Brandon Plantation in late June.

This incredible plantation (the house was designed by Thomas Jefferson) boasts 4,487 acres and has 3.5 miles of James River frontage. There are 11 other homes on the property so bring your family and friends, along with 14 farm structures.

This rare plantation has roots traced back to Jamestown and the settling of America, is being offered for sale by the estate of the late U.S. congressman Robert W. Daniel, Jr., whose family has owned the property for close to a century. Brandon is one of the longest-running agricultural enterprises in the United States. This is only the third time the property has changed hands in over 400 years.

With its Thomas Jefferson-designed main house (still wearing Revolutionary War cannonball scars) and more than 10 other buildings along the southern banks of the James River, Brandon has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It was first constructed in 1765 by Nathaniel Harrison, whose family owned the property until its sale to Robert W. Daniel, an RMS Titanic survivor, in 1926. Daniel’s son, a former U.S. Representative from Virginia, oversaw the operations of the working plantation until his death in early 2012.

The owners of Brandon had a history of public service. The Harrisons (the original owners) were a prominent political family in US History producing numerous governors of Virginia and two U.S. presidents. The Harrisons are also related to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ulysses S Grand and Winston Churchill. Mr. Daniel, Sr. was a Virginia state senator, financier and survivor of the Titanic. His predecessors included an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, first attorney general of U.S. and Secretary of State. Robert W. Daniel, Jr. served five terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Although the construction date of the plantation house is uncertain, its architecture is considered one of the most sophisticated of Virginia's 18th century structures. Style is Paladian with family tradition attributing design to Thomas Jefferson. It is the consensus that the two-story dependencies were built initially and the center two-story section and hyphens were built later. The residence were damaged during both the Revolutionary and the Civil War and remained in the Harrison family until 1920's when Mr. Daniel, Sr. acquired. Under his ownership, the mansion was modernized, restored and the west wing enlarged to accommodate modern bathrooms. Also, during the Daniel era, many of the farm buildings and tenant houses were built; most appear to fall between the 1920's and 1950's.

The auction is scheduled for June 26.   This place makes Tara seem trivial.

Bids are sealed and will be unsealed on the date of the auction.  Bidders must submit a cashier's check in the amount of $250,000 to bid. 


  1. I really do need to win the lottery.


  2. Holy smokes, why is the family selling this in the first place??? (I know, probably the usual reason, i.e. they need the $$)It had BETTER NOT be chopped up into housing developments, that's all I have to say! TJ and GW and the gang will be rolling in their graves...

  3. Wow! If I had the means I would pack my bags today. This estate is dreamy.

    I love your blog and have long been a devout follower. You have such a keen eye!



  4. Too bad the 1929 Aeolian pipe organ was removed.


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