In 1804 George Carter, great grandson of colonial Virginia's renowned Robert "King" Carter, started to develop the plantation. He began with the federal style mansion, and later made changes to reflect the Greek revival style. Over time he added a greenhouse, dairy, smokehouse, bank barn, icehouse and a 4 1/2 acre walled garden.
In 1903 the home turned over to Mr. and Mrs. William Corcoran Eustis. In 1965 the Eustis daughters presented the 261 acre estate, house and furnishings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Today Oatlands is a 360-acre self-suporting National Trust Historic Site, dedicated to advancing historic preservation by preserving the past and engaging the future.
General hours: April 1 through December 30
Monday through Saturday 10 - 5
Sunday 1 - 5
I've added a travelogue to the Leesburg page about Oatlands.
Historic Downtown Leesburg, Virginia
"Old World Charm"
Leesburg is a small well-preserved town in Loudoun County about 50 miles from Washington, D.C. The day we picked to visit Leesburg was rainy, drizzly and windy yet it was amazing to see how busy it was there. I decided to take a few pictures with my digital camera and these are the few that turned out. I sure wish they were better quality.
We started at the Visitor Information Center which was clearly marked on signs coming into the town.
Here we picked up a map of Historic Downtown Leesburg.
Leesburg's downtown is situated on gentle rolling hills and truly displays itself as an old quaint city.
Here you will see many stone buildings and even some made of logs.
"Oatlands, A National Historic Landmark"
The approach to the house from the visitor's center (you buy your tour tickets in the visitor's center/gift shop). The visitor's center itself is a lovely building, but I didn't take a picture of it. The sunlight was waning and the building was too much in shadow.
Here are some views of the house at Oatlands. It has only had two residents in its entire history, and is currently a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (For more info about the National Trust and its properties, visit www.nationaltrust.org.)
The house is a 22-room Greek revival-style mansion, and originally was part of a 3,400 acre plantation. George Carter began construction of his estate in 1804, and remodeled it to the Greek revival style (he wanted to match the popular style of the day) in the 1820s. The property passed briefly into the hands of a man called Stilson Hutchins, who never lived in the house. William Corcoran Eustis and Edith Morton Eustis bought Oatlands in 1903--it was his interest in horses and foxhunting and her interest in gardening that made this an ideal home for them.
In 1965, the couple's children gave Oatlands and 261acres to the National Trust. (Historical information summarized from www.oatlands.org.)
The property is full of these wonderful old trees, many of which are labeled with their botanical and common names. Some of them even show an estimate of how old they are (hundreds of years . . .). With the leaves off, you can admire the twists and bends of the limbs. I love trees!
Waiting for our tour to start. What a great front porch. You can almost imagine the carriages pulling up, full of wealthy Washingtonians arriving for a weekend away from the city. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt spent a good deal of time here; in the foyer is a letter from FDR to the owner of the house, along with a childhood photo of FDR.
Here's the view as you look out from the front porch, over the Virginia countryside.
The back is just as nice as the front.
Photography wasn't allowed inside the house, although I would love to be able to show you how beautifully the rooms were decorated. The furniture, mostly 19th century American and English, is what belonged to the second owners. One exception is the sideboard in the dining room--a *huge* wooden piece purchased by the first owner. It took a team of oxen 6 days to bring it from Baltimore, MD (a distance of less than 100 miles). Many rooms are decorated to evoke the style of a certain country, based on the second owners' travels in Europe.
The next travelogue will show you some of the grounds. While nothing is in bloom this time of year, there are still some lovely spaces.