Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Mellon Legacy

If you've ever been to the Upperville Horse Show Grounds just outside of Middleburg, VA, whether you know it or not, you're in Mellon territory.  Nearby Rokeby Road acts as one of the borders to the Mellon's once 4000-acre sanctuary in the Virginia Hunt Country.

Virginia Living magazine has produced a wonderful article highlighting the incredible Mellon legacy.  The Mellons - Paul and Bunny - made Upperville the center of their prestigous universe for many years.  You can read the article here. The estate was for sale a few years back for a staggering $70M. 

You can read more about Paul Mellon here in this 1978 article from People. The Mellons loved great art, the country, books and horses, but maybe not in that order.  

As is often the case for people born into great wealth, they had an obligation to give back to the world that had blessed them both, and gave they did to numerous causes, schools, museums, and localities inside and outside their adopted state of Virginia.  Bunny loved books and her collection of almost 20,000 books is impressive by anyone's standards.

 A library was built on the Upperville farm to house her collection.  The Mellons had one Derby winner and a statue was placed at their farm in Upperville to honor Sea Hero.  The Mellons also hunted with near-by hunts (there are many in their own backyard).

The farm was broken up into parcels according to this article (there are more great photos) which is so sad but not many people have $70M to purchase a farm, not to mention, the maintenance.  Hopefully the Mellon legacy will live on through the museums, the artwork, the books and the gardens they left behind.  (Most photos are from Virginia Living).


  1. I read the article on splitting up the properties. Good thing about the split are the covenants which prevents developers from buying it and putting cookie-cutter housing (as has befallen many properties in Virginia) and the fact many neighbors are interested. Hopefully it will allow the hunts to continue.. I have to ask and I don't know if you know the answer: do the new covenants include hunts across the properties? That would put off a lot of buyers (thank goodness).

    By the way: how's the fight against that gas pipeline? I don't know if you know this, but ours in New Hampshire was cancelled by the gas company due to the outcry and trouble they were getting...I wrote you about this last year.. Not put on the back burner, but cancelled.. Unfortunately, Massachusetts people are still fighting their fight: another one was going through their state up north right over our border.. They are making inroads however.. So we'll see.

  2. Ann Marie, I would suspect that the covenants allow fox hunting. Most people in that region welcome the hunts. Our pipeline battle is still ongoing, a total uphill battle as our Legislature, our Governor and likely most of our local politicians are "owned" by Dominion Power. It's a very sad situation. But that's America. It's definitely for sale.


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