Ferry Plantation House is a 1830 brick structure (once covered with oyster shell stucco) with a ten-room central passage plan. It’s an example of a Federal farm house, built by slave labor, and faces the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River as the last witness to the rich past of the site’s recorded history. The Third Princess Anne County Courthouse, which was also the first brick courthouse in the county, makes up the south east wing of the house; the stately Walke mansion, circa 1751, was destroyed by fire in 1828.
The existing Ferry Plantation House was built, in part , of bricks salvaged from the ruins. It is currently being renovated by Friends of the Ferry Plantation House, Inc. in partnership with the City of Virginia Beach. The house is open to the public as a museum for tours and educational center.
How did the Plantation get it’s name?
The Ferry Plantation House has had several names over the years, in 1642 it acquired the name Ferry Plantation because of the “Ferry boat service ” running the Lynnhaven River. The river was the most dependable way to travel. Next came the quaint and unusual name Donation Farm it derives from a gift to the parish from Reverend Robert Dickson in 1776. All the land including the Church was given as a donation, with one stipulation that a school for orphan boys be built. This school was never built. Next, the name Old Donation did not appear in the records until 1822. The Vestry ordered “the church called Old Donation to be put in repair”. The land around was sold off but still kept to this day by the name Old Donation Farm. The name Ferry Farm was added to the list as the last three owners used it. When the Friends of the Ferry Plantation House became established, a name had to be registered.
Ferry Farm, the last name being used, was not available as George Washington’s home is called Ferry Farm. Back to the earliest name we had decided on “Ferry Plantation”, and as the house, and just a small portion of the property, are owned by the City. The name was registered as “Ferry Plantation House ” . It is also registered on the City Landmarks the State and National Register.
About The House
- 1642 – Adam Thoroughgood II commissioned the second Ferry service up and down the Lynnhaven River
- 1735 – Third Princess Anne Courthouse was built
- 1751 – Construction of the Walke “Manor” House, courthouse used as kitchen
- 1828 – Manor House burns down
- 1830 – Center section of Ferry Plantation house is built from remaining bricks of Manor House
- 1850 – Third section of house is added
- 1890 – House sold to Charles Barnett
- 1986 – House left abandoned after owner passes away
- 1994 – House bought by developers
- 1996 – House turned over to city of Virginia Beach; leased to Friends of the Ferry Plantation House, Inc. and renovations begun.
- 2004 – House listed on Virginia Landmarks Register
- 2005 – House listed on the US National Register of Historic Places
Acreage of Site: +/- 0.1 acre owned by City, leased by Friends of the Ferry Plantation House
Architect/Builder: George McIntosh
Historical Uses: Plantation, Courthouse, Tavern
Present Use: Museum and Office Space for Non-Profit Office