Berkeley, on the James River between Williamsburgand Richmond, is the birthplace of the first Thanks-giving, the first bourbon, the first performance of"Taps", a signer of the Declaration of Independenceand a U.S. President. Built in 1726, Berkeleysurvived the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the War Between the States.
Benjamin Harrison, son of the builder of Berkeleyand the plantation's second owner, was a signer ofthe Declaration of Independence and three-timeGovernor of Virginia.
William Henry Harrison, Benjamin's third son, bornat Berkeley, was the famous Indian fighter known as"Tippecanoe," who later became the ninth Presidentof the United States, in 1841. His grandson, BenjaminHarrison, was the 23rd President.
On December 4, 1619, the first official Thanks-giving in America was observed when early settlersfrom England came ashore at Berkeley.
The early Georgian mansion is said to be the oldest3-story brick house in Virginia that can prove itsdate. The estate figured prominently in colonial andearly American politics.The original mansion, built in 1726 of brick firedon the plantation, occupies a beautifully landscapedhilltop site overlooking the historic James River.
The handsome Adam woodwork and double archesof the "Great Rooms" in the mansion were installed by Benjamin Harrison VI in 1790 at the direction of Thomas Jefferson.
The rooms in Berkeley are furnished with a magnifi-cent collection of eighteenth century antiques.
Berkeley's ten acres of formal terraced boxwoodgardens and lawn extend a quarter-mile from thefront door to the James River.
In the basement, original hand-hewn floor joists arevisible. The basement also displays models of early plantation buildings.
George Washington, and later the succeeding ninePresidents of the United States, all enjoyed thefamous hospitality of Berkeley in this dining roomwith its view of the James River.It was at Berkeley that William Henry Harrisonreceived private tutoring, which gave him the skilland knowledge to pass entrance requirements to attend Hampden-Sydney College.
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