Dunnington Mansion - "Poplar Hill"

A 200+ Year History and the Story of Tragic Abandonment

Presented by The Dunnington Mansion Foundation

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Help Us Save the Mansion

The Dunnington Mansion Foundation, has worked for years to save the history of the beautiful Dunnington Mansion . After two years of being declined the opportunity to acquire the mansion and start restoration, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to accomplish this!

We need the support of everyone who cares about America’s historic places and wants to see them saved for future generations. 

We are launching a multi-wave campaign to raise funds for purchasing the property and starting the stabilization process. If we fail to raise the required funds, or do not raise them quickly enough, the fate of the mansion will likely fall to residential developers.

Our goal is not only to save the mansion, but to safeguard its history!

Learn more on our GoFundMe Page!!

New!! - 2024

Please watch this fascinating documentary commissioned by The Dunnington Mansion Foundation and produced by Michael Schwarz of the Abandoned Atlas Foundation!

Click here to watch!

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

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“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

Tour Information

Mansion Rental for Artists

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 Us and Store

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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.