Poplar Forest

S of jct. of Rtes. 661 and 460, Lynchburg, Virginia


Poplar Forest

Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey

View photos at Library of Congress


Street Views 


Poplar Forest, one of Thomas Jefferson's most accomplished architectural essays, was built from 1806-19. It was described by its designer-builder as "...the best dwelling in the state, except that of Monticello, perhaps preferable to that, as more proportioned to the faculties of a private citizen." Poplar Forest served Jefferson as a welcome retreat from the constant stream of guests and press of business at Monticello. When Jefferson died in 1826, the estate was left to his grandson, Francis Wayles Eppes, who sold it two years later. It then remained in the interrelated Cobbs-Hutter family for 118 years. In 1845 the house burned, and although the extent of the damage has not been determined, the present roof (which departs from Jefferson's design) as well as the interior trim, date from this time. From 1946 to 1979, Poplar Forest was the home of Mr. and Mrs. James O. Watts, Jr. In 1983 the property was purchased by the Corporation for Jefferson's Poplar Forest, which plans to restore the house and open it to the public. Because of both its architectural merit and historical significance, Poplar Forest has been designated a National Historic Landmark. -- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS VA-303)

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on November 12, 1969
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Octagon
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Single dwelling
Periods of significance
1800-1824; 1825-1849
Significant years
1806; 1819; 1845
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 3

Update Log 

  • January 29, 2016: Updated by Michael Miller: Corrected "Category" & "GPS Coordinates" and Added "Street View"