Join May 25 Tour of Nelson County Mansions

Swannanoa (above) has 52-room; Pharsalia, (below) was built in 1814

Visit Pharsalia and Swannanoa, historic mansions in the mountains of Nelson County, on Thursday, May 25, on a bus tour with the Historical Society of Western Virginia. Both were built by husbands who wanted to honor their wives.

Pharsalia, an 1814 Federal style plantation home with 11 bays, sits on the shoulder of DePriest Mountain in the Tye River Valley. Lunch will be at Pharsalia, once the center of a 10,000-acre plantation. The current owners are descendants of the original owner, Thomas Massie.

Pharsalia, built in 1814After Pharsalia, travel to Swannanoa, a 52-room Italian Renaissance Revival villa built of Georgian marble in 1912 by philanthropist James H. Dooley, an exccutive with the Chesa

peake and Ohio Railroad Co.  The property sits above Rockfish Gap on the border of Nelson and Augusta counties and was built for his wife Sally May. Visitors still can see the likeness of his wife on a domed ceiling. The mansion, though deteriorating in recent years, includes Tiffany windows, terraced gardens and gold plumbing. Its design was partially based on the Villa Medici in Rome.

Cost of the tour is $85 for members and $98 for others.

A bus will leave St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Highland Avenue and Franklin Road, SW, Roanoke, at 8:30 a.m. and return by 6 p.m.

To make reservations, contact:
Lynsey Allie, Historical Society of Western Virginia
101 Shenandoah Ave. NE,  Roanoke, VA. 24016

Sandra Kelly

Board Member, Historical Society of Western Virginia Graduate: Hollins University, BA and MALS in English; Virginia Western Community College, AA in Business Administration Profession: Writer, editor