Until it was gutted
by fire in 1982, Hawkwood was the best-remaining example of the Italian
Villa-style houses designed by New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis.
Completed in 1855, the house was built for Richard Overton Morris, a wealthy
planter who promoted scientific agricultural methods to restore Virginia's
depressed economy. While much of Davis's architecture was inspired by
Greek and Gothic forms, he also was a popularizer of the Italian Villa
style fostered in America by his collaborator Andrew
Photograph courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Jackson Downing. Downing wrote that with its shading eaves, verandas,
and picturesque massing, the villa style was most appropriate for country
houses in the South. A hallmark of the style, demonstrated in Hawkwood,
is the square tower. Hawkwood's walls and tower were spared in the fire
and have since been stabilized and re-roofed. Complete restoration of
the house is contemplated.
Hawkwood: before 1982 fire
Photograph courtesy of National Historic Landmark Program
Hawkwood is located on the west side of Rte. 15, 3 miles north of
I-64 and south of Gordonsville. It is a private residence and is not
open to the public.