Shirley Plantation--page 1 of two pages


Although the present plantation was begun in 1723, Shirley was founded just six years after the settling of Jamestown in 1607. It was completed in 1738 as the new home for Elizabeth Hill, great grand-daughter of the first Hill (Edward Hill I who had been granted the land in 1660) and her husband, John Carter, the oldest son of Robert "King" Carter. Ann Hill Carter, mother of Robert E. Lee, was born, reared, and married at Shirley. The house stood throughout the Civil War, even when nearby Richmond burned, and today the tenth and eleventh generations of the Hills and Carters operate this 800-acre plantation.

Facade and entrance facing the Queen Anne forecourt

The two-tiered portico owes to Palladio1 but the original Mansard roof is French in influence. The third floor has prominent dormers. The house is precisely square--48 x 48 x 48 feet

The river side and a view of the James River from the estate


The side and a view of the side and back


Details of the portico


The pediment and the roof detail--a three-foot pineapple finial

Shirley Plantation uses the pineapple, a Colonial symbol of hospitality, in the interior woodwork as well as on the roof.

continue to page 2.

1G. E. Kidder Smith says that the porticos "were added in 1831 (as recent archeological research has brought out)" (651).

Work Cited: G. E. Kidder Smith. The Architecture of the United States. Volume 2: The South and Midwest. Garden City, N. Y.: Anchor Press/Doubleday,1981.

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© 2002 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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