8797 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, James City County, Virginia
This house is best associated with...
Archibald Montgomery McCrea
President of the Union Springs Manufacturing Company, of Pittsburgh
When Carter died in 1732, he willed the 1,400-acre plantation to Elizabeth's second son, Carter Burwell (younger brother of Lewis Burwell, President of the Governor's Council) who extended his holdings to 30,000-acres and built the 200-foot long mansion house seen here today. He used a British architect, David Minitree, to supervise the team of bricklayers and cabinetmakers - all slave labor - creating one of the finest houses money could buy in Virginia. The glazed blue and red bricks were fired on the plantation and the woods (locust, cedar, poplar) used for the panelling, sills, floors etc., were all made on site. But, after moving in with his wife and children Carter Burwell died just six months later.
Carter's son, Nathaniel Burwell, duly inherited the plantation (one of several he owned through various inheritances) and lived here for a time before 1792 when he built himself the Greek-Revival Carter Hall in Clarke County. Carter's Grove, or "The Grove," remained in the hands of the Burwell family until 1838 when Nat's grandson, Phillip L.C. Burwell, sold the house and 938-acres to Thomas Wynne. It remained with the Wynnes through the Civil War before it was sold to the enthusiastic forward-thinker Edwin Gilliam Booth.
Booth took ownership in 1879, hailing it as a patriotic beacon of the "New South" and even going so far as to paint all the rooms red, white, and blue. The porches he attached were removed by the next owner from 1907, Thomas Percival Bisland (1865-1908), by which time the plantation was reduced to its present 400-acres. Bisland was a Southerner but had made his fortune in New York and wished to maintain the house as summer home, visiting on his yacht. But, he died just the next year, followed by his widow in 1910.
Over the course of the next few years, the house fell into a bad state of disrepair until 1928 when it was rescued by a Pittsburgh industrialist, Archibald Montgomery McCrea, and his Virginian wife, Mollie. They brought in architect Duncan Lee and restored it to its former splendor while also sympathetically adding the dormer roof similar to that at the Westover Plantation. After his widow died in 1960, through a gift from the Rockefeller Foundation, Carter's Grove was acquired by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. It was open to the public from 1969 to 2003 and has since been acquired by Samuel M. Mencoff in 2014 for $15.3-million with the stipulation that he open its doors to the public one day every year.
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