The home is the oldest brick dwelling in North America
by Preservation Virginia
Preservation Virginia’s Bacon’s Castle, built in 1665, is the recipient of a $400,000 Save America’s Treasures challenge grant for its ongoing preservation. Funding through the Historic Preservation Fund, as administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior, will help provide needed support for brick repair, roof replacement, window repair and much more.
The oldest surviving brick dwelling on the continent, Bacon’s Castle and the landscape surrounding it are mostly unchanged. The site represents an exceedingly rare architectural history and is a tangible connection to the formation and evolution of the United States. In addition to the 1665-built, Jacobean-style main house, Bacon’s Castle includes several surviving outbuildings and archaeological resources, such as an original slave dwelling, smokehouse and granary.
Protecting this rare historic landmark is important not just for its architectural significance, but for the public programs conducted on-site. Surry County school students attend free of charge, and public special events include an archaeology day, African American history tours, exterior architectural tours, vendor fairs and more. Through local community input, a new exhibit in 2022 titled They Left Their Mark: The Many Lives of Bacon’s Castle helps share stories of Indigenous Peoples and free and enslaved African Americans who lived at the site. The exhibit also features archaeological discoveries never before on display to the public.
“When the property was offered at auction in the 1970s, we took on Bacon’s Castle knowing it was a unique opportunity to restore and preserve this rare architectural survivor and tell the stories of the people who are associated with its history,” says Elizabeth S. Kostelny, Preservation Virginia CEO. “Caring for a 357-year-old structure and associated cultural landscape never stops. Funding from the Save America’s Treasures program ensures we are proactively addressing preservation projects.”
The Save America’s Treasures program requires a 1-to-1 match to be raised from additional supporters. Individuals and groups interested in helping meet the match can do so at preservationvirginia.org or by sending contributions to Preservation Virginia’s headquarters office in Richmond. Bacon’s Castle is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays March through December annually.
► To read more about Bacon’s Castle, visit preservationvirginia.org/historic-sites/bacons-castle.