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RICHMOND
Maymont

Maymont

Maymont
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development

 

Maymont, a 100-acre public park adjacent to the James River, was once the estate of Major James H. Dooley and his wife, Sallie May.  Dooley, a wealthy industrialist and member of the Virginia House of Delegates, commissioned Edgerton Stewart Rogers to design an elaborate mansion for the couple.  Constructed in 1893, the main house was soon joined by several outbuildings, all of which still stand today.  As an avid horticulturist, Mrs. Dooley oversaw care and the development of the gardens.  The estate landscape, including formal Japanese and Italian gardens, and other original features, is historically significant.  The original buildings and gardens remain unaltered since the death of the Dooleys in the 1920s.

The restored 12,000 square foot mansion combines both Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque stylistic elements.  The three-story building of broken course sandstone has narrow windows with stained glass “eyebrows.”  The rough stone, circular and polygonal corner towers and the one-story porch on the western façade convey the strength of the Richardsonian Romanesque style.  The southern façade includes a porte-cochere leading to a front hall lighted by a large Tiffany stained-glass window.

The first floor of the interior of the house has a spacious entrance hall, dining room and adjacent butler’s pantry, two drawing rooms, and several small reception rooms. Lavish furnishings that the Dooley family owned decorate the rooms.  The recently restored basement floor of the mansion includes servants’ quarters, a kitchen, a wine cellar, pantries, and other work rooms. The restored second floor includes bedrooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, and the morning room.  The family had a large household staff, nearly all African Americans. Their work and that of 22 grounds workers was essential to running the large estate.

Stone Barn

Maymont Stone Barn
City of Richmond
Department of Community Development

Noland and Baskervill designed the carriage house, a three-storied stone barn, the water tower, and other outbuildings, most dating from the early 20th century.  The grounds of the estate were landscaped as informal parkland, as pastoral scenes were highly popular at the time.  Two formal gardens lie just south of the mansion.  Noland and Baskervill designed the Italian parterre garden. Completed in 1910, the Italian garden features a columned pergola and an elaborate cascade surrounded by a serpentine stone staircase.  The ease and flow of the Japanese garden further south on the grounds contrasts starkly with the rigid formality of the Italian garden.  Designed and executed by Japanese master gardener, Muto, the Japanese garden includes waterways, arched stone bridges, and ornamental pavillions.

Major and Mrs. Dooley died in the 1920s bequeathing the house and grounds at Maymont to the City of Richmond for use as a public park and museum.  Outdoor animal exhibits and an elaborate nature center, completed in 1999, have become popular additions to the grounds.  Maymont continues to be treasured by Richmond residents as one of the city’s most valuable environmental and cultural resources.


Plan your visit

Maymont is located in the city’s near west end, about two miles from downtown Richmond.  Maymont House museum and gardens are accessible from the Hampton Street entrance at 1700 Hampton St.  The entrance at the corner of Spottswood Rd. and Shirley Ln. provides easy access to the Children’s Farm and other wildlife exhibits.  The Robins Nature and Visitor Center is located at 2201 Shields Lake Dr. bordering Byrd Park.

The visitor center, grounds, and wildlife exhibits are open daily, 10:00am to 5:00pm, and several of the entrances to the park are open until 7:00pm, weather permitting.  Maymont House Museum and the Nature Center are open Tuesday-Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm.   Entrance into Maymont is free, but a suggested donation of $5 per person is encouraged.  For more information, visit the Maymont website.

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