Secret Passageways and Tobacco Crops at Westover Plantation
Since the late 1600s, Westover Plantation has long been a significant landmark in Charles City, Virginia. Not only does the mansion resemble some amazing architecture but the years of history enhance its past.
By the late 1600s the land which creates Westover Plantation was already being controlled by British settlers. In 1688, William Byrd I purchased the land which would later become the plantation.
The man who built the home still seen on the grounds is uncertain. It was either William Byrd II or William Byrd III. Historians and archeologists have disputed over who actually ordered the home to be erected. It is assumed that the mansion at Westover Plantation was built around 1750. This would lead to the belief that Byrd III had the home constructed. The plantations main crop consisted of tobacco which was maintained by the use of slave labor.
William Byrd II was the founder of nearby Richmond and thus a prominent figure in Colonial Virginia. He is buried in the garden at Westover Plantation. The estate stayed within the Byrd Family until 1814 and changed ownership several times. Just like nearby Berkeley Plantation, this home and grounds were taken over during the Civil War by General Porter of the Union Army. During the war a cannon struck part of the home. This destroyed the east wing.
Years later in 1899, the home was purchased by Clarise Ramsey who was a descendent of the original Byrd family. She fixed the damage done by the cannon and restored the home by remodeling and making additions. The home even contains secret passageways. In 1921, the Crane family purchased the property and have operated it ever since.
How to Visit
The plantation is open for tours to the public. The property is also available for rent for events and weddings. For more information about hours and admission please visit the official website here.
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