Maymont

Historical Significance

A National Register of Historic Places site and a Virginia Historic Landmark, Maymont is  significant as an intact, ornamental estate representing the architecture, decorative arts, and landscape design typical of America's Gilded Age. From 1893 to 1925, the 100-acre estate was the home and showplace of railroad magnate James Dooley and his wife Sallie, and the workplace of African American men and women who were employed as domestic workers.

The Dooleys employed between seven and ten domestic employees to maintain the home and support the lavish lifestyle of the family and their guests. Their labor sustained the Dooley's thirty-three room mansion and the orderly operation of the household.  Like other African American domestic workers employed in the South during this period, the Maymont household staff met the day-to-day challenges of an era of dramatic social, economic, and technological change as well as the increasing restrictions of their civil rights and very limited job options. Maymont is representative of elite households throughout the region that witnessed the interactions between employer and employee during the Jim Crow era.

In addition to general tours of the Maymont Mansion, special focus tours and public programs interpret the lives and work of the Dooley's employees in the context of a turbulent time of transition and change in the South and throughout the United States.  

Physical Description

Maymont is a 100-acre historic estate in the heart of Richmond, Virginia. Bequeathed to the City by James and Sallie Dooley  in 1925 to be used as a museum and park,  Maymont offers the opportunity to explore an elaborate, intact Gilded Age estate with beautiful parkland and formal gardens, carriages, and the opulent Maymont Mansion. Twenty-one restored interiors on view to the public reflect the lavish lifestyle of a millionaire's home of the 1890s. Tiffany stained glass, sumptuous detailing, and original furnishings adorn the richly appointed upstairs rooms. Downstairs, a self-guided exhibition, "In Service & Beyond: Work and Life in a Gilded Age Mansion" tells the story of the domestic staff and the restored kitchen, pantries, laundry, wine cellar, and other rooms they labored in and maintained.

Maymont also includes a Nature Center, outdoor Virginia Wildlife Exhibits, and Children's Farm. 

Geographical and Contact Information

1700 Hampton Street
Richmond, Virginia
23220
Phone: 804-358-7166
Fax: 804-358-9994

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Maymont ,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed March 30, 2017, http://aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/271.
Site Type navigation:  Previous | Site Type Info | Next

Share this Site