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Oatlands Historic House & Gardens in Leesburg, Virginia

January 18, 2022

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, located on renowned Route 15 in the neighborhood of Leesburg, VA, features charming rolling farmland, a majestic mansion, exquisite gardens, and more than two centuries of American culture and history. As a ground of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Oatlands is an affluent resource for the nation, state, and community.

George Carter, a young bachelor and descendant of one of the first families of Virginia, inherited over 3,400 acres of prime farmland in Loudoun County in 1798. The plantation economy of Oatlands was based on wheat production and in due course, Carter broaden and diversified to grow other grains, construct a mill complex close by Goose Creek, and raise sheep for wool. Oatlands' success depended on a slave economy and its enslaved community, by 1860, added up to 133 children, women, and men. In 1903, Edith Morton Eustis and William Corcoran Eustis purchased the estate as the couple's country home. Following the passing of Edith in 1964, the property was donated by the family in 1965 to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Oatlands received the National Park Service's highest designation - a National Historic Landmark.

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens convey the 19th-century stories of a working plantation and the people who worked and lived on the acreage, including Oatlands' wealthy owners and the enslaved artisans and laborers. Aside from the famed mansion of Greek Revival style, the property of Oatlands includes one of North America's earliest surviving greenhouses, grand formal terraced gardens, and historic barns. The Carter Barn serves as a time capsule, exhibiting proof of both Eustis and Carter-era practices of agriculture.

On the other hand, the Greenhouse which was constructed in 1810 reflected Carter's wealth and interest in the practices of contemporary horticulture. Today, the garden staff of Oatlands follows the distinguished greenhouse's traditions of sheltering delicate plantings throughout colder months. Other notable structures of the estate include The Carriage House, Mt. Gap School, The Garden Dependency, Smokehouse, The Bachelor's Cottage, and the Walled Garden.

The historic garden's structure consists of terraced carved within the hillside to yield level areas for ample plantings of vegetables and fruits along with flowers, trees, and shrubs. Edith Carter was inspired to fill the terraces of Carter with boxwood-lined parterres brimmed with colorful and fragrant flowers such as peonies, lilies, tulips, and iris since she viewed the garden ruins as a mysterious, still, and quiet place bearing "old secrets". Furthermore, romantic structures, plant containers, and statuary were added. Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is also a famed venue for outdoor sporting affairs, ranging from the Loudoun Hunt Point-to-Point Steeple Chase Race to college cross country and local high school meets.

Outlands offers a variety of tours to its visitors. For the Mansion Tour, docents are available for Mansion walk-in tours during weekends. An interpretative guide ushers guests through the mansion's first floor, discussing the manor's history, the lives of the families who kept Oatlands, and the pieces of the assemblage of decorative objects, portraits, and furniture. Other tours presented at Oatlands include Enslavement at Oatlands, Garden Tour, From Plantation to Country Estate, Architecture Tour, and Art Tour.

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is dedicated to fostering historic preservation by engaging the future and protecting the past. Oatlands is committed to expounding the property's natural, historical, and cultural significance and to upholding Outlands' core values of education, community outreach, research, interpretation, and stewardship.

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