Historic Garden Week returns to Staunton just in time for the highlights of spring’s floral glory. This year’s tour takes place on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Virginia’s Historic Garden Week has been held since 1927, when it was used to raise funds to restore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate. The tradition continues annually, and each year more than 250 historic homes across the state open their doors and grounds to visitors. Proceeds go toward preserving and restoring Virginia’s public gardens.
The Augusta Garden Club turns 100 this year. To celebrate this milestone birthday, the club is hosting a tour of five “historic homes with outstanding architectural value that chronicle the history of both Staunton and the Augusta Garden Club.” The tour is in or close to Staunton’s downtown and most of the featured homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The interiors of the homes on the tour will feature floral arrangements created by garden club members.
Houses on the Tour
Oakdene / 605 East Beverley Street
Architects Yarnall and Goforth built Oakdene in 1893 in the Queen Anne style of architecture. It was tastefully renovated in recent years. This home’s interior retains fine examples of Gothic revival, including a sentry owl with light-up eyes. The gardens were designed in 1934 by A.A. Farnham.
Stuart House / 120 Church Street
Built in 1791 in the Classical Revival style, Stuart House is likely Staunton’s first brick house. Thomas Jefferson influenced the design – perhaps directly. Thomas Blackburn, designer of Staunton’s Blackburn Inn, designed the 1844 wing. Renovated in 1975 by a former Garden Club of Virginia president, the house is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Waverley Hill / 3001 North Augusta Street
Another former president of the Garden Club of Virginia, Emily Smith, built Waverley Hill in 1929. Architect William Bottomley, a distinguished and sought-after Colonial Revival designer, designed it. The house overlooks the Blue Ridge and gardens designed by Arthur Shurcliff, landscape architect for Colonial Williamsburg.
Whitestone / 2712 North Augusta Street
Built between 1920 and 1922, Whitestone is a Colonial-inspired fieldstone house . Landscape architect Charles Gillette originally designed the gardens, and owners have added to them over the years. The house is currently owned by founding member and lead singer of the Statler Brothers, Don Reid (and his wife). It features artwork and memorabilia
The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum / 20 North Coalter Street
Built in 1947 in the Greek Revival style, the mansion housing the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum was originally the manse of the First Presbyterian Church. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president, was born here in 1856. Open to the public since 1941, the property has been restored over the years. Charles Gillette designed the gardens in 1933 and Ralph Griswold designed the terrace in 1967.
Before You Go
- Access parking and van transportation to Waverley Hall and Whitestone at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 2001 N. Coalter St. or Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2807 N. Augusta Street.
- Park in public lots or on the streets for homes in the downtown area.
- Visit houses in any order.
- Plan to wear flat walking shoes for your comfort in touring the gardens. This also protects the interiors of the homes.
- Plan ahead: there are no public restrooms on tour properties. Restrooms will be available at the churches as well as the Staunton Visitor’s Center.
- Buy your advance tickets before April 26. Attendees may purchase tickets on the day of the event at all tour properties.
- Please respect the home owners’ privacy by refraining from taking interior photography.
- If you want to take a memory of the tour home with you plan to purchase a painting by one of the plein air artists who will be painting in the tour’s gardens. Work will be available at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and at Sunspots Pavilion from 2-3 p.m.
Caught the Garden Tour Bug?
After visiting Staunton and enjoying your tour, plan to tour more of Virginia’s 200 plus historic gardens. See Virginia Garden Week’s suggested itineraries. Nearby destinations hosting tours include Harrisonburg, Lexington, Albemarle-Charlottesville, UVA Pavilion Gardens, and Lynchburg.