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Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia

January 18, 2022

The over four hundred hectares historic estate, Morven Park, is situated in Leesburg, Virginia. In 1967, Morven Park opened its door to the general public and is operated and owned by a non-profit organization, the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation. Known as the Loudoun County's Central Park, Morven Park greets more than 200,000 yearly visitors who come to savor exquisite scenery, the Morven Park International Equestrian Center, the hiking trails, museums, formal boxwood gardens, and the iconic mansion in the Greek Revival style.

Morven Park was opened to the public in October 1968 by the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation. Marguerite Davis established the foundation in honor of Westmoreland Davis, her late husband. WDMF is committed to preserving the unique artifacts, open space, and historic buildings of Morven Park. As the final Morven Park's private owners, Westmoreland and Marguerite Davis, purchased the property in 1903. The couple started a livestock farm, breeding poultry, dairy cattle, sheep, and hogs at Morven Park.

Following the death of Governor Davis in 1942, Morven Park was trusted to a caretaker and Marguerite established the non-profit foundation to maintain and manage the park in 1957. The Davis Mansion, currently, preserves its appearance of early 20th century, and every one of the rooms in the estate which can be explored through the tours contains the original decor and furnishing of the Davis. The mansion's tour includes an introduction to the couple and the political and social themes that molded Loudoun County's being during the earlier part of the 20th-century.

While the Davis Mansion symbolizes the 20th-century history of the property, the outbuildings and grounds of Morven Park embody a more complex and much longer narrative. From 1800 to 1864, around 80 women, children, and men were enslaved at the estate. Guided tours share public information as the foundation review historic data and documents to honor and recognize the contributions and experiences of these individuals.

Aside from the historic mansion, Morven Park features two museums - The Museum of Hounds and Hunting of North America and The Windmill Carriage Museum. The Windmill Carriage Museum highlights a unique assemblage of horse-drawn automobiles donated by Viola Windmill, an enthusiast of carriage driving. The 40 vintage carriages, carts, sleds, and coaches vary from regal to utilitarian. In honor of the equestrian heritage of Morven Park and the fox hunting passion of the Davises, the Museum of Hounds and Hunting of North America is situated in the 3 rooms of the historic mansion. This museum maintains the memorabilia, art, and artifacts of the rich history of fox hunting.

Morven Park enclosed a thousand acres of fields, formal boxwood gardens, wooden ridge, and lawns. More than half of the estate has been assigned in conservation easement to protect and maintain the open space for the next generations. The lush rolling fields and the expansive lawn of the mansion are remnants of the 19th-century landscape of Morven Park. Roughly 400 acres of the property of Morven Park are inside the forested Catoctin Ridge, presenting opportunities for exploration and hiking all year round. Miles of gravel surfaces and natural walking/hiking trails are available at Morven Park. The Ridge Top Trail loops up the ridge, giving hikers sights of native fauna and flora.

Morven Park International Equestrian Center is Loudoun County's leading competition venue and allures some of the top riders of the world. The equestrian center is situated one mile from Town of Leesburg's north off Route 15 on Tutt Lane. Morven Park holds year-round events and the majority of riding disciplines, including dressage competitions, carriage driving, jumper/hunter shows, and the Fall and Spring International Horse Trials. The center commences the famed Morven Park International Equestrian Institute which is one of the most reputable riding academies in the world. In addition to hosting events and competitions, Morven Park also receives show managers and riders to rent facilities like outdoor/indoor arenas, show office space, cafes, and stalls.

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