03 October 2011

Willoughby

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.

About

Charlottesville Then and Now is a photoblog showing vintage images from around Charlottesville and pairing them up with current day views of the same location.

The blog is the work of Steve Trumbull of Trumbull Photography and the Charlottesville Historical Image Library.


This website features photographs of places in and around Charlottesville, Virginia. I have collected a number of old images, taken over the past century or more, and paired them with photos of the current day location.


Use the archive below or the "Older Posts" link at the bottom of this page to explore the many places and stories I have researched for this project. Check back often for new additions. Feel free to contact me with any comments or to share old photos at: steve@trumbulldesign.com

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Thanks for your interest!

-Steve Trumbull