More information at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources here
Home Site- Nelson County, Virginia
Abt. 1798 Nicholas Cabell of Liberty Hall, gave part of his estate (940 acres) to his son, Dr. George Cabell, Jr. (1774-1827). Construction began about 1809 but the house was not completed until 1812 due to lack of funds. Bon Aire is two miles south of Warminster on Route 626. The woods to the north of the property abut Edgewood. The cemetery is east of the house and stables are to the west.
Bon Aire was designed after Point of Honor in Lynchburg, Virginia. George Cabell built Bon Aire on a peak that permitted an unobstructed view in all directions. It is a Federal “T” plan brick house (the bricks were made at the Liberty Hall kiln) laid in Flemish bond with 3 interior end chimneys on the north, east and west walls. It is a distinctive three-part Palladian design. The two-story, three-bay house with a central pavilion has 1 ½ story flanking wings with dormers. The house is over a raised basement.
Jeffersonian influence is seen in the Chippendale railings of the double portico and in the staircase which is tucked in a side arch between the entry hall and the library. A 12 x 4 ft. archway divides the entrance hall from the library. The entry is flanked by recessed-panel pilasters. There are three rooms in the basement, three rooms plus an office and large room on the main floor and two attic rooms on the second floor. The double doors at the main entrance are still barred with oak timbers. The doors on the main level are wide Cross & Bible design and have the original brass locks.
Bon Aire was remodeled in the 1940’s and again in the 1950’s. Doric columns have been added to the portico and beneath the portico a balcony with supporting iron brackets has been added. Other additions include a tack room to the west and a country kitchen with an open porch to the east replacing the original kitchen. In the 1950’s an annex was added along with a second dining room, the kitchen, two storage rooms and a porch.
Timeline of Bon Aire Ownership
- 1812 -1826 Dr. George Cabell, Jr. (1774-1827)
- 1826 – 1832 Zachariah Nevil bought the estate for $7500
- 1832 -1839 Lafayette, Louisa, Jefferson Neville (heirs of Zachariah Nevil)
- 1839 – James T. Smith of Buckingham County, Virginia
- 1840 -1851 William Robinson bought the home for $10,000
- 1851 -1868 Heirs of William Robinson
- 1868 – 1884 Daniel J. Hartsook
- 1884 – 1892 Piedmont and Arlington Life Insurance Company
- 1892 Nannie I. Lewis
- 1972 Barbara Dallas Cabell, 4x Great granddaughter of Col. Nicholas Cabell, Sr., and her husband, Ormonde Wilcox bought the home.
All photos circa 2002 and courtesy of Archer Minardi.