Historic Attractions

Oak Ridge is a 200-year-old estate formerly owned by a number of businessmen prominent in Virginia history. Wall Street financier and Nelson County native Thomas Fortune Ryan purchased the estate in 1901 and transformed the small, Federal-style dwelling into a 50-room Colonial Revival mansion. Much of Ryan’s American Empire furniture remains in the home.

The Holland family acquired the 4,800 acre estate (with 50 outbuildings) in 1989 for the purpose of restoration.

Leisurely tours can be scheduled throughout the year by advance appointment for groups of ten or more guests. Visitors will see selected rooms in the Mansion as well as certain Grounds features. For more information,
visit www.OakRidgeEstate.com.

Oakland-The Nelson County Museum of History was established to educate and expose the public to the rural history of Nelson County. The house was originally built in 1838 as an “ordinary”, or tavern, to accommodate passengers traveling the stage road from the Federal City (Washington, D.C.) to Lynchburg.

The story of Hurricane Camille, that devastated Nelson County in August 1969, is one of the major exhibits. For more information, visit www.Oakland-museum.org

After building Pharsalia in 1814, Revolutionary War veteran Major Thomas Massie deeded it to his son William as a wedding present. The current owners, Foxie and richard Morgan, are dedicated to preserving, protecting and sharing this unique property.

Located off Crabtree Falls Hwy. (on the way to Montebello for most Nelson County residents), Pharsalia was accessible only to the family and friends of its owners for decades. Now it is registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark. For more information, visit www.PharsaliaEvents.com.

Walton’s Mountain Museum is located in Schuyler (Sky-ler). Opened on October 16, 1992, this building was Schuyler’s ca.1924 high and elementary school until 1955, grade school until 1991, and it is now the community center. “The Waltons” creator and John-Boy’s alterego, Earl Hamner, grew up in the home across the street. WMM attracts thousands from all over the world. The Museum offers replicas of John-Boy’s Bedroom, Ike Godsey’s Store, “The Waltons” kitchen and “The Waltons” living room. Hundreds of photographs and pieces of memorbilia are on display. For more information, visit www.WaltonMuseum.org.

Another notable historic property in Nelson County is Swannanoa Palace, located in Afton. This 52-room$2 million marble palace was built as a token of love. More than 300 artisans were hired to create the palace as a replica of the Villa de Medici in Rome.

The property is under renovation and plans are to re-open the palace as a bed and breakfast and meeting facility. More more information, call (540) 942-5201.

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