Auburn PlantationAgent: Joe Samuels
Rare it is to find a home and farm with the Civil War provenance of Auburn. Here was General J.E.B Stuart's Cavalry's "Grand Review" for the benefit of General R.E. Lee. Here, General U.S. Grant dined with 14 other Generals undoubtedly discussing his 1864 Overland Campaign to end the War. Against a backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, here was fought several fierce cavalry battles and here the injured were treated and the dying protected. For these reasons and more, Auburn is on the National and Virginia Registers of Historic Places. The property that is Auburn was patented in 1736 and by 1799 had become part of the Winston Family holdings on which they built a large home. Mrs. Winston was Dolley Madison's Aunt and James and Dolley visited frequently during Madison's tenure as Secretary of State and President. By 1843 the farm had passed into the hands of James A. Beckham, an energetic merchant who began accumulating over 2,000 acres then called Auburn Plantation. The Winston's house was likely in disrepair, but in any event Beckham replaced it in 1855 with a new manor in the Greek Revival style. Clad in heart pine weatherboard, the central passage double-pile plan was the essence of Greek Revival architecture, free from ecclesiastical and affected traditions with restrained elegance and form. The house today is remarkably preserved due to the efforts of the existing owners family. The heart pine weatherboard is intact and protected by vinyl siding. The heart pine floors are warm in their weathered maturity. 10' ceilings and rooms of cordial hospitality remain as they did when General U.S. Grant dined here in 1864. Dual interior chimneys house 9 fireplaces - though some have not been used for many years. The deep, two story portico is unchanged and faces easterly over the front fields that long ago hosted fierce cavalry battles. The plantation row of slave quarters deteriorated in the late 18th, early 19th centuries. The original brick Summer Kitchen remains and is largely unchanged. It would make an ideal guest cottage or office with loft. In the former plantation row are three frame white buildings used in the past as the meat house, chicken house and garage and now used as storage. There are two large barns on the property. The "Long Barn" dates to the late 19th century or 1900 and is remarkable for the timbers found inside as well as the construction with mortise and tenon. The remaining barns date to the 1930's and with three concrete silos, capture a bygone era in picturesque form. Further improvements include the two bedroom, one bath farmhouse used as a rental generating $800/month. The farm is 422 acres virtually all open in pasture and unique in this area for being a blend of bluegrass and orchard grass, not fescue. There are three hayfields of orchard grass and timothy with the balance being used to graze cattle, a tradition of the current owners for 100 years. The farm will support close to 200 mother cows in a cow-calf operation. There are five wells on the property. A drilled well and an old hand-dug well support the house and gardens. Two drilled wells exceeding 25 gallons per minute supply water to the livestock. A fifth well serves the tenant house. The farm also has long frontage on Jonas Run and several other spring-fed streams. The Blue Ridge Mountains rise in the west in a beautiful demonstration.