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Photograph courtesy of Scenic America: Deborah L. Myerson

The vibrancy that American architects gave to the Italian Villa style is no better shown than in Mayhurst, described by architectural historian William B. O'Neal as "a delicious Victorian fantasy." The architect has not been recorded; however, its stylistic similarity to Camden in Caroline County has led to its attribution to Norris G. Starkweather of Baltimore. The designer might also have been Charles Haskins of Haskins and Anderson of Washington, D.C., who designed the Villa-style Orange County Courthouse. The tall structure, decked out with a bracketed cornice, rusticated wood siding, and a cupola terminating in a scroll-ornamented finial, illustrates the mid-19th-

Historic view of Mayhurst, date unknown
Photograph courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources Archives

century taste for the exotic. The house was commissioned by Col. John Willis, a great-nephew of James Madison and was begun in 1859. Restored in recent years as an inn, Mayhurst retains its park-like setting.

Mayhurst is located .4 mi. southwest of the junction of State Rte. 647 and Rte. 15, in Orange. It is now a bed and breakfast. Call 888-672-5597 for further information or visit the website.



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