Friday, May 30, 2014

Carter's Grove - A "Downton Abbey" in Virginia

Interested in a "Downton on the James" (River)?  Well, Carter's Grove is back on the market. The illustrious plantation, located just outside of Williamsburg, Virginia is headed back to the real estate listings thanks to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.  The price has not been released.  The Foundation bought the property on May 21 at auction for $7.4 million.  The previous owner, Halsey Minor, could not keep up with his payments.  The 18,700-square-foot house sits on 400 acres. The property has been appraised at approximately $15 million and the mansion is considered among the best examples of Georgian architecture in the U.S. It was built in 1755 and has ties to the earliest European settlers in Virginia.

The plantation was built for Carter Burwell, grandson of Robert "King" Carter and was completed in 1755. It was probably named for both the prominent and wealthy Carter family and nearby Grove Creek. Carter's Grove Plantation was built on the site of an earlier tract known as Martin's Hundred which had first been settled by the English colonists around 1620.

After hundreds of years of multiple owners and generations of families, and the death of the last resident in 1964, Carter's Grove was added to Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's (CW) properties through a gift from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1969.

Carter's Grove was open to tourists for many years but closed its doors to the public in 2003 while its mission and role in CW's programs were redefined. Later that year, Hurrican Isabel rendered serious damage to the road which had linked the estate directly to the Historic Area of Williamsburg, a distance of 8 miles (13 km), bypassing commercial and public roadways. The foundation announced in late 2006 that it would be offered for sale, under specific restrictive conditions.

In December 2007, the mansion and 476 acres (193 ha) were acquired for $15.3 million by CNET founder Halsey Minor, who announced plans to use the property as a private residence and a center for a thoroughbred horse breeding program with the Phipps family.  Minor's financial troubles put the house in serious turmoil and the Williamsburg Foundation stepped in to save it.  If you want to own a piece of Virginia history, here's your chance, but you'll need staff to run it!  Happy Friday!

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