As many of you may know, Stratford Hall was home to four generations of the Lee family. In 1717, Thomas Lee acquired ownership of the “Clifts” property on the Potomac where Stratford Hall is located today. Thomas renamed it Stratford after his grandfather’s estate in England. The exact date of the building is unknown but the main house was finished by the early 1740s.
In 1749, Thomas was appointed President of the Council of Virginia. At the time, this was the highest position in the legislature of Virginia and its occupant often took over the responsibilities of Governor. Thomas Lee’s sons, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, followed their father’s political footsteps and were the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence which was approved on July 4, 1776. The next day, on July 5, Patrick Henry was sworn in as the first Governor of Virginia. Since then, there have been 71 official Governors of Virginia.
To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Virginia Governor’s mansion, 2013 has been declared the “Year of the Historic Home.” This weekend Virginia’s “most renowned historic homes and museums will be open free to the public” to celebrate the anniversary. Make plans to visit Stratford Hall, a symbol of both Virginia’s and America’s history, at no cost this Saturday and Sunday, September 14th and 15th! To print your “passport” for free admission click here.
-Courtenay Dobbins, Development & Marketing Communications Assistant