Long Branch

Posted by on Jul 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Long Branch Plantation, Millwood, Virginia

Long Branch Plantation, Millwood, Virginia

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Long Branch

Long Branch is an early 19th-century plantation house in Millwood, Clark County, Virginia. It was built by Robert Carter Burwell. Burwell established Long Branch Plantation around 1790 when he inherited the land from his grandfather. During the early years of the plantation, Burwell lived with his sister and brother-in-law just north of Long Branch at Rattlesnake Plantation, currently known as Rosney. In the beginning of the 19th century Burwell began to plan his own home, just south of Rosney near Long Branch Creek.

Sometime around 1810, Burwell began construction of his own home. During construction Burwell consulted with Benjamin Henry Latrobe, America’s first professionally trained architect and the man responsible for the design of the United States Capitol in Washington.

Although Long Branch is deemed to be one of only four private dwellings attributed to Latrobe, there is quite some doubt as to just how much he is responsible for. There is no evidence that Latrobe ever visited the site or directly drew plans for Long Branch. We do know, from a letter from Latrobe to Burwell dated July 21, 1811, he commented on Burwell’s plans and made a number of criticisms. He noted the location of the dining room and bedroom on the north side of the house:

In the summer you will be plagued in the evening after dinner by the western sun, and in the winter by the N. West wind.

The largest criticism, though, was the lack of a servant’s staircase in Burwell’s plans. Without a second stair, servants would be unable to go upstairs without using the main staircase and crossing the central hall. The back staircase to the left of the central stair is believed to be a direct result of Latrobe’s comments.

Long Branch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. The house has undergone considerable change since then including the additional of the west wing to balance out the asymmetrical design of a single wing. It is now a museum. It is also used to host weddings and other events.

Horses have been an integral part of the history at Long Branch. Originally horses were used to help plow the fields and pull carriages. The plantation has a long history of horse breeding, known for both thoroughbreds and Clydesdales. Today, Long Branch has an extensive boarding program for the care of retired sport horses.

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