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Morven Park
Photograph courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources

The 1,200-acre estate of Morven Park was home to two governors: Thomas Swann, a governor of Maryland in the 19th century, and Virginia's reform governor Westmoreland Davis. Morven Park was the last home of Governor Davis, who served his gubernatorial term from 1918 to 1922, and his wife, the former Marguerite Inman of Atlanta, daughter of a wealthy New York cotton broker.

The mansion, a focal point of the estate, evolved from a fieldstone farmhouse in 1781 to its present turn-of-the-century appearance. The first owner of the 1780s farmhouse was Wilson Cary Selden. Judge Thomas Swann acquired the place in 1808 and added the Doric portico and dependencies in the 1830s. In 1858 Swann's son, Thomas Swann, Jr., later governor of Maryland, engaged Baltimore architect Edmund G. Lind to remodel the house into a grandiose composition calling for four Italianate towers. The main tower was omitted, and the tops


Historic Rendering of Morven Park
Photograph courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources Archives
of the other four towers were later removed.

From the time he acquired the property in 1903, Davis set a standard for grand-scale living and made Morven Park a model dairy farm and an agricultural showplace. Today the grounds at Morven Park offer not only spectacular views from manicured lawns, but trails shaded by evergreens, magnolias and dogwoods. In 1955 Governor Davis's widow established the Westmoreland Davis Foundation, and Morven Park was opened to the public as a museum, cultural center, and equestrian institute.

Morven Park is located 1 mile northwest of Leesburg off business Rte. 7. It is open 11:00am to 5:00pm, April-October, and 12:00pm to 5:00 pm, November-March. The last tour starts at 4:00pm. The park is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. There is a fee for admission. Call 703-777-2414 or visit the Virginia Tourism website for further information.

 

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