White House of the Confederacy, Richmond

White House of the Confederacy, Richmond (must see)

Tucked away in the Court End neighborhood not far from Capitol Square is the Jefferson Davis Executive Mansion. During the Civil War, the house was considered the Confederate States of America's counterpart to the White House in Washington, DC. Jefferson Davis was the sole president of the Confederacy, and he lived here from 1861 to 1865.

The house was built in 1818 and is a gray stucco mansion built in the neoclassical style. Robert Mills designed it for John Brockenbrough, president of the Bank of Virginia. Being so close to the State Capitol, the neighborhood was full of high-level politicians and wealthy townspeople. Brockenbrough sold in 1844, and the house changed hands several times. It was eventually sold to the city, who rented it to the Confederate government for use as the Executive Mansion.

The Jefferson family and their staff abandoned the house as Richmond was evacuated in 1865. The house was taken intact, and President Lincoln toured the home and held several meetings with local officials. Lincoln spent several hours touring the home, but he did not go beyond the downstairs floor as he felt doing so would be an invasion of privacy.

When the city announced that they planned to destroy the building in 1890, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society was formed to save the mansion. It became the Museum of the Confederacy for over 80 years. After a complete restoration in the 1980s that returned the entire structure to its wartime appearance, the building became known as the White House of the Confederacy and is part of the American Civil War Museum, which is located off-site. Today the house stands alone, surrounded by the VCU medical campus.

Why You Should Visit

The house has been masterfully restored to appear as it did during wartime. The exhibit House of the Lost Cause explores the history of the Confederacy through Jefferson Davis and his daughter, Winnie Davis, with some of their personal items on display.

Tips

Plan to spend about 45 minutes or so touring the mansion. Since you're visiting the area, consider combining this tour with a visit to The Valentine, Richmond's history museum.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Richmond. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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White House of the Confederacy on Map

Sight Name: White House of the Confederacy
Sight Location: Richmond, USA (See walking tours in Richmond)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Richmond, Virginia

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