The Gardens

The Pavilion gardens that grace each side of the Lawn once served very different purposes. Though today the beautiful gardens function as places for entertainment and reflection, they used to be spaces where slaves carried out all the work of daily life. The gardens were filled with lots of other buildings. Each professor or Hotelkeeper added buildings as they were needed: privies, smokehouses, washhouses, and quarters.Detached kitchens were built behind nearly every pavilion and hotel, because cooking in a basement was both dangerous and smoky. Only a few of these early buildings survived. The gardens would have also contained shanty town-like tents where enslaved laborers lived. Ultimately, these spaces were dusty, smelly, bustling workyards. It was not until the 1950s and 1960s that the Garden Club of Virginia designed the gardens present appearance.



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