"In the Beginning, all America was Virginia."
William Byrd II
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Adam Thoroughgood House

Address: 1636 Parish Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Phone: 757.460.7588
Web site: http://virginiabeachhistory.org/thoroughgoodhouse.html

When the Princess Anne Garden Club approached The Garden Club of Virginia about a garden restoration at the Adam Thoroughgood House, Restoration Committee members readily acknowledged the value of undertaking this unique Tidewater project. Both as a chance to envision the grounds surrounding an uncommon seventeenth-century structure and an opportunity to promote Historic Garden Week in that part of the commonwealth, the project held special appeal for club members in the late 1950s.

Restoration of the building had been undertaken by the Adam Thoroughgood House Foundation, an organization that in a few years would turn the property over to the City of Norfolk. Recently, it has been conveyed in turn to the City of Virginia Beach. This property is no longer an active project supported by The Garden Club of Virginia.

Evidence concerning the construction of what may be the oldest brick house still standing in America is frustratingly meager, and that regarding the design of any gardens attached to the house when originally built virtually nonexistent. Therefore, landscape architect Alden Hopkins worked with Restoration Committee members to draw from contemporary English tradition. Two geometrically designed parterres flanking either side of a central entrance walkway dominated the plan, utilizing extensive amounts of perwinkle and yaupon holly. Oversized arbors paralleled the central walk and marked the outer boundaries of the garden, while imaginative animal carvings (called "beasties"), affixed to four-foot oak posts, added a fanciful character to the grounds.

This landscape was previously restored by, but is not currently under contract with, The Garden Club of Virginia.

Note:
The images presented here record various stages of the property's landscape restoration. Since additional work has been supported by The Garden Club of Virginia at many properties, these images do not necessarily represent the current-day experience. Also, accession numbers reflect the year in which an image was received by the Virginia Historical Society, not the year in which it was taken.

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Description

Alden Hopkins's design called for parallel parterres flanking an entrance walkway.

Slide, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.15.A

The garden is beautifully set against the towering trees that characteristically line the shore of the Lynnhaven River.

Slide, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.15.B

The restored house seen from one of the arbors.

Slide, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.15.C

Hopkins used yaupon holly extensively to create the feel of a contemporary English garden.

Slide, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.8.D

Plaque commemorating the restoration work undertaken by The Garden Club of Virginia between 1958 and 1960.

Photographic print, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.15.M

The arbors feature wooden seats and an alternative to the sun-drenched gardens adjacent to them.

Photographic print, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.15.N

Landscape Design Plan B, Alden Hopkins, 1958.

Drawing, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

Garden Plan, Alden Hopkins, revised 1990.

Drawing, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

Mrs. Katharine B. Byrd, Princess Anne Garden Club, to Mrs. Herbert McK. Smith, 5 March 1958, requesting support from The Garden Club of Virginia.

Letter, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

S. W. McGann, Jr., to Mrs. Frank J. Gilliam, 24 April 1961, concerning transfer of the property to the City of Norfolk, Va.

Letter, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

Rudy J. Favretti to Mrs. Willcox Ruffin, Jr., 18 August 1990, enclosing sketch plans and potential planting lists for a reworking of the garden parterres.

Letter, Adam Thoroughgood House.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6
 

 

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Last updated March 16, 2011