Address: 215 S. Wilton Rd.
Constructed in 1753, the Wilton House Museum is among the oldest buildings in Richmond. Originally, it served as the rural plantation home of the influential Randolphs, one of the First Families of Virginia. It was moved to its current location in Richmond’s affluent West End in 1933 as its original surroundings industrialized. The lavish Georgian mansion hosted many notable visitors such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Marquis de Lafayette.
The building’s exterior is spare and simple despite its grand scale. Its largely unadorned brick faces and sharp planes of slate roofing serve as canvases for the swaying shadows from foliage above. The house is a beautifully crafted study in proportion, mass and texture, metal and wood accents harmonizing with the slate and brick of the large cubic volume. An axial path leads up to the central entrance, continues through the house, and extends down rear terraces to a small brick patio overlooking the James River. Across the river, the entirely undeveloped Williams Island can be seen. The illusion of wilderness helps to ground the antiquated building in a proper context.
Wilton House is now a museum open for tours which focus largely on its authentic Georgian interiors. The original plantation site featured several symmetrically organized companion buildings only one of which was moved to the current location. Still, with the help of some well placed signage at the museum’s entrance, it is possible for a visitor to extrapolate what it must have been like to visit the grand home so many years ago.
For more information on the museum’s history and accessibility, see link: