In a town known for its many historic homes there are many others that are long gone and all but forgotten. One was the home of Eugene Davis, Confederate Army Captain and son of the early UVA law professor, John A. G. Davis. His home was called "Willoughby" and sat a couple miles south of Charlottesville on Moore's Creek.
The house was built for Davis around 1850 and he and his family lived in this house until his death in 1894 with the exception of the time he was away during the Civil War. Davis, seen in the portrait below, also served a year as Charlottesville's Mayor during this time.
The front porch of Willoughby would be altered in later years to look like this:
The house changed hands several times, with extensive additions built, a pool installed, and gardens planted, but by the latter part of the twentieth century was in disrepair as seen in these two photos:
In the 1970's and 80's there was a plan to renovate the home and create a 65 acre office park with Willoughby at its center. The remnants of this abandoned plan can be seen today near the entrance to the property.
The road to Willoughby looked like this in the 1890's:
In the winter of 2011, an intrepid visitor follows the same driveway through the old gate and up the hill to the home site.
But Willoughby no longer stands, having been lost to a mysterious fire on Halloween night, 1991. Only a few ornamental trees from the garden remain:
Prior to building Willoughby, Captain Davis lived in this house in town on East Jefferson Street.
This home, too, is gone, replaced by a government building near downtown.
The same building can be seen in this aerial photograph (near center, with flags above) showing the earlier Davis home's proximity to Court Square (upper righthand corner)
Eugene Davis's grave stone can been found in the UVA Cemetery.
Old black and white images courtesy Jasper Burns (www.jasperburns.com). Early 1990's color images courtesy Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. All other photos by Steve Trumbull.