Author: David Brown

co-director of the Fairfield Foundation in White Marsh, Virginia
ENTRY

Menokin

Menokin, located in Richmond County, was the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee and his wife, Rebecca Tayloe Lee. Constructed from 1769 to 1771, the home sat on a 1,000-acre plantation and was a wedding gift from Rebecca Lee’s father, John Tayloe II. The designer is unknown but may have been the English craftsman William Buckland, who also worked on George Mason‘s Gunston Hall. The Lees lived at Menokin on and off until their deaths in 1797, and two years later the house was inherited by John Tayloe III, who owned it until 1823. The property changed hands a number of times before falling into disrepair and being abandoned by the mid-twentieth century. In the 1960s, the Omohundro family, which inherited Menokin in 1935, removed the interior paneling and woodwork to protect it from damage; in 1995, T. Edgar Omohundro deeded the property to the Menokin Foundation. Beginning in 1985, archaeological investigations evaluated the site and dated its occupation back to the Rappahannock Indians, who lived and hunted there prior to the arrival of the English. In the early twenty-first century, the Menokin Foundation opened a visitors center and began plans to preserve the site by replacing the missing walls and roof with glass and steel.

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