Traveled to Newport News, Virginia, discovering two colonial architectural gems of a bygone era.
Lee Hall front and back views
What a spectacular home.
In 1840 this land was received as an inheritance to Richard Decateur Lee. He was at 23 at the time. While the farm soil was depleted Lee studied and instituted practices to replenish the soil. He revolutionized farming with crop rotation and fertilization practices to re-energize the land. Later he increased his 500 acres to 2100 through purchase and planted trees on most of the property.
The farm was productive growing wheat which he used in his grist mill. The animals he maintained created dairy products such as butter and their coats made wool. He also was community magistrate. What a career!
Working in conjunction with his wife, Martha, who was a widow with two sons at the time of the marriage, the farm prospered. Seven more children were born from the union with four surviving till adulthood.
Just prior to the beginning of the Civil War their Lee Hall Home was completed, however, for safety reasons the family evacuated to Raleigh where Richard obtained a magistrate position. During the War the home was used briefly as military headquarters for Confederate troops.
Upon return from the War Mr. Lee repurchased the land however was unable to sustain the property due to many factors. Sadly, they moved to a property his wife obtained as an inheritance leaving the beautiful home empty for many years.
Today restored to period era the home is a treasure with sunny windows, lovely wallpaper, a gracious dining room, and musical instruments. It is a must see and with a combination ticket tourists can also visit Endview Plantation, and the Virginia War Museum. Price wise this is a steal and an excellent way to enjoy your day in Newport News.