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Mount Airy, ca. 1930s

Creator:
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Landscape architect:
Shurcliff, Arthur A (Arthur Asahel) 1870-1957
Former owner:
Tayloe, William, Col
Tayloe, William
Tayloe, John, Col
Tayloe, Richard
Tayloe, H. Gwinn
Physical description:
2 folders + 4 3 x 4 in. glass lantern slides and 4 35mm slides (photographs)
Type:
Mixed archival materials
Place:
United States of America, Virginia, Richmond County, Warsaw
Virginia
Warsaw
Mount Airy (Warsaw, Virginia)
Date:
1930
1939
ca 1930s
Notes:
Mount Airy was built ca. 1748-1758 by John Tayloe II (b.1721-1779) in the Palladian style, on high ground overlooking the Rappahannock River. The original garden was formal and European in style, with a large bowling green directly behind the house which had formal parterres planted in flowers on either side. The five levels of garden terraces had square beds edged in boxwood. There was an orangery, now in ruins. Old trees remain on the grounds, including box, holly, tulip poplars, and yew, and also lilacs and roses. The house was approached through a deer park with an avenue of cedar trees.
In order to build the house on high ground six acres were leveled. The house was built of local brown sandstone with limestone trim from Aquia, Virginia. The architect was said to be Colonel Thornton of London. The large central house is connected to smaller wings in front of the main house by curved corridors, which enclose the courtyard. There was a private racetrack for horses on the estate, and John Tayloe II was a noted horseman. The property remained in the Tayloe family for nearly 300 years.
Landscape architect Arthur A. Shurtleff, best known for designing Colonial Revival gardens in the 1930s for Williamsburg and other locations, drew up plans to restore Mount Airy in 1931. These plans are located at the Library of Virginia.
Mount Airy was listed as a National Historic Landmark on Ocotber 9, 1960, noting that it is the burial place of Francis Lightfoot Lee. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Ocotber 15, 1966 and as a Virginia Historic Landmark on September 9,1969.
Persons associated with the garden include Colonel John Tayloe II (1721-ca.1779), Colonel John Tayloe III (1771- 1828), who built Octagon House in Washington DC 1798-1800, descendents of the Tayloe family and Arthur A. Shurleff (landscape architect).
Summary:
The folder includes worksheets and photocopies of articles.
Publications:
This property is featured in Homes and Gardens in Old Virginia, published by the Garden Club of America, 1962, pp. 163-165, Gardens of Colony and State, Garden Club of America, 1934, pp. 101-102, and Manors of Virginia in Colonial Times by Edith Tunis Sale, 1909, pp. 30-41
Topic:
Gardens
Local number:
VA067000
Data Source:
Archives of American Gardens

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