Turkey Island Mansion

Turkey Island Mansion (HM1C65)

Location: Richmond, VA 23231
Country: United States of America

N 37° 24.373', W 77° 16.167'

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ca. 1768

Archeologists uncovered building foundations near this location of a house believed to have been designed by Ryland Randolph in the late 1760s. Ryland Randolph (1738-1784) was the great-grandson of Pocahontas and the grandson of William Randolph and Mary Isham. William and Mary established themselves at Turkey Island in 1670. Built of brick, the central portion of the house was two stories high and capped by a large cupola or dome. The symmetry of the side wings, hipped roof and interior end chimneys are typical building features of Palladian architecture. Palladian architecture, named for Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), is characterized by principles of classical antiquity — order and symmetry.

In 1809, the two story center portion of the structure was burned and rebuilt as a one-story structure. Prior to the fire, two insurance policies were taken out on the property, in 1796 and 1806. Sketches submitted with the 1806 policy describe a two-story brick dwelling, 30 by 30 feet covered with wood. The same plan shows two story wings 26 by 14 feet attached to each side of the structure and two additional wings 24 by 24 feet only one story each. The sketch features a front and back porch both with a three arch arcade created with four columns on each portico.

The Pickett family purchased the plantation in 1814. In 1853, Robert Pickett wrote that "in the early days nautical men who passed referred to the dome of the mansion as the bird cage because of the large number of birds that were always seen flying around it." The house was destroyed during the Civil War when Confederate General George Pickett owned the property.

(Above.) Architectural rendering of what the original dwelling may have looked like by William Rhodes.
(Inset, Top right.) 1853 Smith map of Henrico County, detail of Turkey Island.
Sketch of mansion from Insurance Document (Mutual Assurance Society, 1806.
Ryland Randolph, ca. 1760.
HM NumberHM1C65
Year Placed2013
Placed ByCounty of Henrico
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 12th, 2014 at 5:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 299138 N 4142354
Decimal Degrees37.40621667, -77.26945000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 24.373', W 77° 16.167'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 24' 22.38" N, 77° 16' 10.02" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5100 New Market Rd, Richmond VA 23231, US
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