Barboursville

Barboursville is the ruin of the estate of former U.S. Senator, U.S. Secretary of War, and Virginia Governor James Barbour, located in Barboursville, Virginia, on the grounds of Barboursville Vineyards. The house was designed by Barbour's friend and political ally, Thomas Jefferson. The ruin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Original Jeffersonian design

Until it burned on Christmas day, 1884, Barbour's house stood essentially as completed, circa 1822, from designs by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson designed the house in the then fashionable Neo-Palladian style.

Only two one-story side porches appear to have been later additions. Though large in scale, the house contained only eight principal rooms, the hall, drawing room, and dining room being two-story chambers. The entrance façade featured a projecting Roman Doric tetrastyle portico which covered the recessed front wall of the entrance hall. On the garden front the walls of the octagonal drawing room projected into a similar portico, as at Monticello. The octagonal dome which Jefferson proposed in his drawing was omitted during construction; it is uncertain whether the Chinese latticework railing which appeared in Jefferson's drawing around the base of the roof was ever installed. Although the dining room had no chamber over it, Jefferson indicated a faux window on the second floor level in order to keep the garden front symmetrical. This feature was omitted and consequently gave that side of the house an unbalanced appearance. There is little evidence as to the appearance of the original interior architectural trim.

Destruction in fire

During the fire of 1884 everything except the exterior brick walls, the interior masonry partitions, and the columns of the porticoes perished. The ruins have been stabilized and are maintained as a tourist attraction.

Related buildings

To the north of the house are two service buildings which now serve as an inn for guests of Barboursville Vineyards. It is believed that these structures were built circa 1790 and were lived in by James Barbour until the main house was completed. As they are built on the slope of a hill, they appear as one story on the front with two-story columned galleries on the rear

Gardens

Barbour's estate has been known for its unusually large and fine boxwood, which flourish on the grounds immediately surrounding the main house. A portion of the gardens were once surrounded by a serpentine wall similar to those designed by Thomas Jefferson for the gardens at the University of Virginia.

Listing on National Register of Historic Places

Barboursville was listed on the National Register on November 12, 1969. Thomas Jefferson's role as architect and the fineness of the design, still visible as a ruin, were the prime factors in the property's listing.

Current use

The ruin is now owned by Barboursville Vineyards and sits within the winery's property. Visitors to the winery can visit the ruins. On summer evenings, theatrical and musical productions are presented at the ruin.