The Maymont Nature Center was gifted to the city of Richmond by the wealthy but childless couple, James and Sallie Dooley. James Dooley served in the Confederate Army and was wounded during the Battle of Williamsburg. Though he was not officially a general, he was granted the honorary title due to his bravery in battle. After the war, James Dooley involved himself in other pursuits.
James amassed the bulk of his wealth as an astute businessman and lawyer. Sallie Dooley was an accomplished author and was involved in several social societies. She also oversaw and assisted in planning the lavish gardens on the estate due to her extensive knowledge of horticulture. When the couple passed way in the 1920s, the city of Richmond inherited their sprawling estate.
The Maymont Nature Center is 100 acres of impressive garden landscapes, an opulent mansion-turned-museum, farms, and wildlife habitats. The expertly planned gardens contain a tranquil Japanese garden and a stream with stone pavers for visitors to walk across; a romantic Italian garden with sculptures and fountains; and an arboretum with trees of every kind. Truly, beautiful and tranquil.
If the Gilded Age had a magazine, the Maymont mansion would be on its cover! Each room of the house was a separate showcase of decadence and style. From the drapes to the china, sophistication and class surrounded the wealthy couple at every turn. Visiting the mansion is like getting a rare look at how "the other half lived" during a time of economic prosperity in the nation. Take a tour through the Maymont mansion to learn much more about the house, the gardens, and the Dooleys.
Cover Photo Credit: ADD via pixabay.com