Exploring the Poplar Hill Mansion

Poplar Hill is an abandoned mansion most famously owned by the Dunnington family in rural Virginia. The history of the site dates to 1840 when James Wood constructed the Wood Plantation. It was purchased by CSA Captain John Knight in 1860. Knight’s daughter, India, married Walter Dunnington of the Dunnington Tobacco Company in 1876.

In 1897, Walter and India moved into the Wood Plantation and dramatically expanded upon the structure with an Italianate-style addition at which point the 8,500 square-foot house became known as both the Dunnington Home and Poplar Hill. It featured fourteen rooms, six bedrooms, and three bathrooms.

Various development properties for the site in the late 1990s and 2000s called for a championship golf course to be developed around Poplar Hill. In preparations for the renovation of the mansion into a clubhouse and event center, it was stripped of ornamentation and fixtures, and the surrounding outbuildings, including the Woodson House, an ice house, an apple house, two slave houses, a cabin, two barns, and several machine sheds, were demolished. Financial issues caused any further work to stop and Poplar Hill is now in a state of disrepair.

As of this publication, the Poplar Hill residence and adjoining 361 acres are being auctioned.

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