“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 8, 2022
1. The Greenhouse Marker
The Greenhouse, built in 1810, illustrated George Carter's interest in contemporary horticultural practices and reflected his wealth. It is believed to be the second-oldest propagation greenhouse in the country. The south-facing glass wall and glazed roof maximizes sun exposure for plants in the hothouse. The attached potting shed helps shield the hothouse from northerly winds while also providing storage for equipment and heating devices. Enslaved people used the space to cultivate a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Oral history suggests that one or two enslaved people may have slept inside the greenhouse during the winter months when they had to stoke the heating system day and night in order to maintain a constant warm temperature.

By the late 1800s, the second generation of Carters used the hothouse to display more exotic plants such as sago palms. They also turned the attached shed into an official dwelling. In the early 1900s, the Eustis family improved the structure with a state-of-the-art Lord and Burnham iron framework and heating system. The propagated boxwoods and grew snapdragons, roses, tomatoes,
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and rhubarb. today, Oatlands' garden staff follows the tradition of using the historic greenhouse to shelter delicate plantings during colder months.

The Greenhouse, c. 1890.
The only known photograph of the greenhouse in the 1800s shows two unidentified women inside the hothouse. Note the lower floor level and trees planted inside. Using data from archaeological investigations, these details help date the photograph between 1870 and 1895.

John Leland Talbot, undated.
John Leland Talbot emigrated from England in 1900. He worked as head gardener at Oatlands for several years and lived in the house now operating as the Inn at Oatlands Hamlet.

Plate 103, Design for Greenhouse.
As with the mansion, it is possible that George Carter designed much of the greenhouse himself with the use of pattern books and advice from builders. Oatlands' greenhouse emulates designs seen in William Pain's The Practical House Carpenter, 1796 (shown here) and other design books of construction patters and plans.

The Greenhouse, 1937.
Located in direct view of the mansion and its original front entrance, George Carter meant to impress any visitor to Oatlands with a view of his greenhouse. The Eustis family continued to utilize the greenhouse as a key component
The Greenhouse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), April 8, 2022
2. The Greenhouse
of their horticultural program. Early on, they planted Japanese maple trees on either side of the hothouse door, which remain today.

Erected by Oatlands Historic House & Gardens, a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansHorticulture & ForestryNotable Buildings. A significant historical year for this entry is 1810.
Location. 39° 2.44′ N, 77° 37.075′ W. Marker is near Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is on Oatlands Plantation Lane, 0.4 miles south of James Monroe Highway (U.S. 15), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20850 Oatlands Plantation Ln, Leesburg VA 20175, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Bachelor's Cottage (a few steps from this marker); The Enslaved Community (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mansion (within shouting distance of this marker); The Walled Garden (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Smokehouse (about 300 feet away); Reclaim Your Story (about 300 feet away); The Garden Dependency (about 300 feet away); The Carriage House (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leesburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 9, 2022. It was originally submitted on April 9, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 56 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 9, 2022, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Jun. 7, 2023