Barboursville Ruins is the only building in Orange County known to have been designed by Thomas Jefferson. It was constructed between 1814 and 1822 for Jefferson's friend James Barbour, Governor of Virginia (1812-1814).
Barbour also served as a U.S. Senator, Secretary of War, and Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Jefferson design called for a dome similar to his own home at Monticello. Although the dome was not built, the rest of the house largely followed Jefferson plans.
The grand house was known in its day as one of the finest and largest in the region. It even had its own racetrack.
It was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day, 1884. The grounds surrounding the ruins, now part of Barboursville Vineyard and Winery, are open to the public.
The ruins offer a unique atmosphere for a picnic. They also serve as an exceptional background for the Four County Players' presentations of "Shakespeare at the Ruins" on August weekends.