CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VIRGINIA – On Saturday, Oct 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., historic Eppington Plantation will be commemorating its 250th anniversary with a heritage day celebration. This celebration honors the long history of the beloved Chesterfield landmark, and pays homage to the many revered figures that passed through its doors, including Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette.
In honor of the anniversary, Eppington Plantation will be opening its doors to the public for tours through the home and the adjoining cemetery (usually only available by appointment). The Heritage Day celebration also will have a large array of period attractions and activities to give guests a sense of what life was like in 18th century Chesterfield. Period-accurate musical performances, games and activities will take place, and crafters will be demonstrating and selling their wares. A historical reenactor portraying Marquis de Lafayette, a friend of Eppington’s owner Francis Eppes, will be there to walk guests through history, and a period-accurate colonial militia encampment will be giving artillery demonstrations. There will be food vendors, craft beer tastings and visiting artists from Plein Air Richmond will be painting on site and selling their works.
The event will take place at 14201 Eppes Falls Road in Chesterfield VA. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call 751-4946 or visit http://eppington.org
There also will be an open house at Historic Pleasant View School on the same date and time period. The school is located at 18430 River Road, which is just down the road from Eppington. Members of The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia’s African American History Committee will share the history of the school house and conduct tours. Tours are free, and parking is available on site.
Pleasant View School was built in 1930 and designated a Chesterfield County Historic Landmark in April 2017, in recognition of its significance as an authentic representation of early twentieth century education in the county. This one-room schoolhouse served as an elementary school until 1947, and it is Chesterfield’s best remaining example of African-American education in the segregated era. For details, call 751-4946 or visit www.chesterfieldhistory.com.
The History of Eppington Plantation
Eppington Plantation was built in 1768 by Francis Eppes VI, brother-in-law to Thomas Jefferson. Eppes and Jefferson also were close friends and, after Jefferson’s wife Martha died in 1782, the newly widowed Jefferson entrusted his two daughters, Maria and Lucy, to the Eppes family while he served as minister to France. Sadly, Lucy died of whooping cough shortly thereafter and was buried on the property. Maria grew to adulthood, married the eldest Eppes son and remained on the property until her death in 1804.
The house itself is a Chesterfield County Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an excellent example of 18th century Georgian design and features a three-bay, two-and-a-half story central block design with hipped roof, dormers and flanking one story wings. Eppington is well preserved and still looks much as it did 250 years ago.
Chesterfield County acquired Eppington Plantation when it was deeded as a gift in 1989 by the descendants of the Cherry family, along with 43 acres for historic preservation. In 1997, the Eppington Foundation was established with the mission to preserve, restore and promote the history of Eppington and to educate the public to its historical, cultural, agricultural and architectural significance. The foundation works in a cooperative partnership with Chesterfield County’s Department of Parks and Recreation to manage the site and protect the property. Current land holdings are 376 acres with ongoing efforts to acquire additional parcels of land. The first annual Eppington Heritage Day was held in 1998 and the Eppington Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017.