Menokin is one of the best documented 18th-century houses in America.

The house has often been compared to a giant jigsaw puzzle. We have all the pieces and the top of the puzzle box.

That “box top” consists of an original presentation drawing dating to 1769; an extensive Historic American Building Survey from 1940 including photography and twenty sheets of drawings; and numerous research reports and historic images.

Over 80% of the original fabric of the house remains - much of it in remarkably good condition. This collection and its preservation and interpretation are at the heart of our mission.

Menokin is one of the best documented 18th-century houses in America.

The house has often been compared to a giant jigsaw puzzle. We have all the pieces and the top of the puzzle box.

That “box top” consists of an original presentation drawing dating to 1769; an extensive Historic American Building Survey from 1940 including photography and twenty sheets of drawings; and numerous research reports and historic images.

Over 80% of the original fabric of the house remains - much of it in remarkably good condition. This collection and its preservation and interpretation are at the heart of our mission.

Menokin is one of the best documented 18th-century houses in America.

The house has often been compared to a giant jigsaw puzzle. We have all the pieces and the top of the puzzle box.

That “box top” consists of an original presentation drawing dating to 1769; an extensive Historic American Building Survey from 1940 including photography and twenty sheets of drawings; and numerous research reports and historic images.

Over 80% of the original fabric of the house remains - much of it in remarkably good condition. This collection and its preservation and interpretation are at the heart of our mission.

NEO-PALLADIAN DESIGN

Menokin is one of the few 18th-century Virginia homes for which the original architectural drawings still exist. Although the designer’s identity is a mystery, the Georgian-style mansion clearly was influenced by the ideas of Italian architect Andrea Palladio. Similar to other mansions in Virginia and Edinburgh, Scotland, the house sheds light on early construction methods of 18th-century Tidewater Virginia homes.

 

RAW MATERIALS

Approximately 80 percent of Menokin’s original materials have survived. The main house was built with materials from the nearby area, such as sandstone used for the exterior and white oak and pine on the interior — making the house an integrated part of the landscape. Being a stone house made Menokin unusual among Virginia homes, which were usually made of brick during that period.

Menokin was built from locally-quarried, course-grained sandstone ashlar with brick backup and decorative stone trim.

Interior Woodwork

Menokin’s 1,000-plus pieces of surprisingly intact, interior woodwork have a story of their own. From their removal in 1968 to storage 100 miles away at Bacon’s Castle in Surry, Virginia, to display at the Virginia Historical Society, the saved millwork has traveled many miles. Most of it has been stored on-site at Menokin since 2004. The woodwork serves as a lively teaching resource.

Interior Woodwork

Menokin’s 1,000-plus pieces of surprisingly intact, interior woodwork have a story of their own. From their removal in 1968 to storage 100 miles away at Bacon’s Castle in Surry, Virginia, to display at the Virginia Historical Society, most of the saved millwork has been stored on-site at Menokin since 2004. The woodwork serves as a lively teaching resource.

Interior Woodwork

Menokin’s 1,000-plus pieces of surprisingly intact, interior woodwork have a story of their own. From their removal in 1968 to storage 100 miles away at Bacon’s Castle in Surry, Virginia, to display at the Virginia Historical Society, most of the saved millwork has been stored on-site at Menokin since 2004. The woodwork serves as a lively teaching resource.

HABS DOCUMENTATION

During cold winter days of 1940, a group of architects came to document, measure, draw, and photograph Menokin through the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) — the federal government’s oldest preservation program. Little did they know their work would be a key tool for the next generation of architects to piece back together this National Historic Landmark.

habs-elevation

1940s HABS drawing of Menokin

RECOGNITION: A NATIONAL LANDMARK

Despite its physical decline in the 20th century, Menokin grew in recognition as an important part of America’s history. The site was added to the Virginia Landmarks and the National Register of Historic Places in 1968 and 1969, respectively. In 1971, it was designated a National Historic Landmark — the most prestigious historic honor a U.S. building can achieve.

boucher-ruins

Menokin after a tree fell on the house in the late 1960s.

Collapse and Revival

After an illustrious beginning, Menokin lay mostly unoccupied after 1960. In addition to suffering the ravages of time, the house was severely damaged by a tree falling through it in the late 1960s. By 1995, when the Menokin Foundation received it, the house was in ruins. A steel canopy has protected it since 2000, although the house is still exposed to the elements on all sides. The Foundation has begun implementing a bold plan for Menokin, and remains dedicated to making the house and collection available to scholars, preservationists, and enthusiasts for learning and inspiration.

Collapse and Revival

After an illustrious beginning, Menokin lay mostly unoccupied after 1960. In addition to suffering the ravages of time, the house was severely damaged by a tree falling through it in the late 1960s. By 1995, when the Menokin Foundation received it, the house was in ruins. A steel canopy has protected it since 2000, although the house is still exposed to the elements on all sides. The Foundation has begun implementing a bold plan for Menokin, and remains dedicated to making the house and collection available to scholars, preservationists, and enthusiasts for learning and inspiration.

Collapse and Revival

After an illustrious beginning, Menokin lay mostly unoccupied after 1960. In addition to suffering the ravages of time, the house was severely damaged by a tree falling through it in the late 1960s. By 1995, when the Menokin Foundation received it, the house was in ruins. A steel canopy has protected it since 2000, although the house is still exposed to the elements on all sides. The Foundation has begun implementing a bold plan for Menokin, and remains dedicated to making the house and collection available to scholars, preservationists, and enthusiasts for learning and inspiration.