Belle Air Plantation

Submitted by FHMaster on Sun, 12/18/2016 - 11:29

Belle Air Plantation is an estate located on the north bank of the James River in Charles City County, Virginia, United States. It is located along State Route 5, a scenic byway which runs between the independent cities of Richmond and Williamsburg. Belle Air is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Belle Air remained in the Clark family through the eighteenth century. It was later purchased by Col. William Green Munford, who had served as a Colonel in the Continental Army. Inherited by his son, John Munford, at the Colonel's death in 1786, it was sold to John Cocke in 1792. The property was purchased by Hamlin Willcox, a prosperous Charles City County planter, in 1800 and he added the three-bay western portion of the house. The house remained in the Willcox family, which also owned nearby North Bend Plantation at the time of the Civil War, until 1945. Belle Air was restored by the current owner, Mrs. Walter O. Major.[3]

Belle Air mansion

Belle Air is a rare, unique example of a wooden house with a postmedieval-type exposed interior framing. It is probably the oldest plantation house along Virginia Route 5 Scenic Byway.

The origins of the Belle Air property can be traced back to Colonel Thomas Stegge II, William Byrd I's uncle. Stegge inherited his father's mercentile enterprise and James River plantation ins 1653. He settled on the 1,700 acre plantation and built a house there in 1655. Lieutenant Colonel David Clarke purchased a part of Stegge's land in 1662. His house was completed in 1665, and is sometimes referrd to as Windsor.  Clarke or one of his descendants likely built the present house at the turn of the century and later named it Belle Air. Destruction of colonial records of  Charles City County, make it impossible to pinpoint the exact construction of the house.

Hamlin Willcox purchased the property in 1800. The property remained in the family until 1945. The house was spared from ruin by Mrs. Walter O. Major.  The property was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register on January 15, 1974 and the National Register of Historic Places on July 18, 1974. The plantation is located at 11800 John Tyler Memorial Highway. For more information please call (804) 829-2431.

Location
Charles City
State
GeoCoord
37°20′49″N 77°3′40″W
Owners
Daniel Clark
William Green Munford
John Munford
John Cocke
Hamlin Willcox
Mrs. Walter O. Majo
Thomas Stegge II
Founded
1662
Status
Active
Address
N of VA 5, Charles City, Virginia
NRHP Ref Number
74002232