Welcome to Dunnington Mansion/Poplar Hill
Once a stately and beautiful Victorian manor, Poplar Hill has an extensive and rich history. Sadly, this is far from the truth today.
Threatened by housing developments and woeful neglect, this amazing piece of architecture might soon be lost.
After being bought by developers in 2000 there were plans to make it the shining jewel of the future Manor Golf Course. Unfortunately, the money dried up for the developers and pieces of the property were sold to different investors. The golf course was constructed in 2004 and the mansion was ignored.
Over the last 23 years its former glory has slowly faded. Currently, the house is in various stages of decay and its future is seriously endangered. Exposed to the elements the beautiful plaster walls, once covered in opulent wallpaper, have started to crumble. Holes in the roof and broken windows have allowed decades of rain to pour into the interior. In some rooms entire ceilings have collapsed and the floors have fallen.
Broken and all but forgotten its ghostly beauty is breathtaking. In silent defiance of its current state the mansion is still compelling and inspiring. Please enjoy this site as we document the story of Poplar Hill and the people who lived and worked there.. Join us in appreciation of this stunning piece of history in Virginia's Heartland and learn about The Dunnington Mansion Foundation's fight to save it.
“Preserving historic buildings is an important way to maintain the memory and understanding of our past for future generations. Understanding our past history gives insight into our present and future material culture.
The 1897 Poplar Hill is one of those important examples of Victorian architecture of the Dunnington family that derived from a mid-nineteenth century brick house. Since then, the Dunnington Mansion Foundation has meticulously researched and preserved its rich history and culture and has maintained [efforts towards] its ongoing stabilization and restoration.”
K. Edward Lay
Former Associate Dean and Cary D. Langhorne Professor Emeritus of Architecture, University of Virginia
“The Dunnington Mansion is one of those rare buildings that retains so much of its original character and fabric. The Foundation is working hard to ensure that this building is stabilized and preserved for the benefit of future generations."
- Catherine Easterling (Sadler & Whitehead - Historic Preservation Consultation)
Explore the DMF Website
The Dunnington Mansion Foundation's Primary goal is to preserve the history of the Dunnington Mansion (Poplar Hill) and the people who lived and worked there.
Over the last two years the website has become quite extensive and we felt the need to create a navigation summary.
In addition to the drop down menu, you may navigate to different sections of the website below.
A Walk Through Time - explore the history of Poplar Hill
Death of a Mansion - (photo gallery) - comparison images of the mansion's prior beauty and current destruction plus additional galleries from contributing photographers.
The Farm and Gardens - explore the history of Poplar Hill as a working farm and view before and after pictures of the grounds.
The History of African Americans at Poplar Hill - (history and photo gallery) - this page is currently a work in progress and we encourage anyone with additional information to please contact the DMF!
About the Foundation - All about the Dunnington Mansion Foundation (board members and efforts)
Updates - Exciting collaborations and events
Acknowledgements - This website would not have been possible without the wonderful talents and generosity of other history lovers! Explore who has helped make this dream a reality.
Contact, Mansion Rentals and Store
HELP US SAVE
Formed by history enthusiasts and lovers of forgotten homes the Foundation has two main missions:
1) To preserve the history of Poplar Hill and the people who lived and worked there from 1740 to the present. Through this website, and a documentary that is currently in progress, we hope to create a timeless, inclusive resource for those wanting to learn about this amazing home and the people it housed and sustained.
2) Eventually we hope to restore/repurpose the mansion itself. Its future is in limbo. At the end of 2021 it and the surrounding 400+ acres sold to a group of local investors. These current owners have joined with other land investors in the area to market 600+ acres through Sotheby's. It is currently listed and they hope to sell the entire project to a national developer. We hope that developer will be more willing to negotiate with us than the current owners are.