Menokin in Warsaw, Virginia

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By John Cowgill

There’s a ruined house on Virginia’s Northern Neck, complete with crumbled walls and a collapsed roof. This house is the home of a significant person in our country’s history. Most people would want to rebuild the house and open it up for tours.

But does it have to be rebuilt? Why can it not remain ruined? How about visiting a ruined historic site that remains… ruined?

Welcome to Menokin, the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife, Rebecca. Located outside of Warsaw, Virginia, this plantation home remains in ruins. While most historic sites are eventually restored to their original look, the Menokin Foundation has done something completely different; they made a decision to preserve the ruin. Instead of rebuilding the house, the Menokin Foundation is keeping the house as is. However, they will be using glass to reconstruct the home so that you will see the ruin itself and what the home looked like when it was originally built in 1769.

Menokin is outside of Warsaw, Virginia, off Virginia Route 3 (Northern Neck). The property is open year round, from 7:00 a. m. to 7:00 p. m. The Visitor Center hours vary throughout the year.

There is a hard hat tour of the ruin, which allows you to go inside the house. The property also boasts easy hiking trails, and the foundation hosts events throughout the year. Fore more information and directions, visit It is truly a site unlike any other.

John Cowgill travels the Mid-Atlantic Region and writes about what he sees. He especially likes trains.


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