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National Registry Plaque


Belle Grove Plantation


Date Built: 1794-1797
Architectural Style: Federal

The History of Belle Grove begins with the German immigration into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. In 1732, Jost Hite with his partner Robert McKay and 16 families, journeyed to the northern Valley to settle on 140,000 acres obtained in two land grants. Isaac Hite Jr, grandson of Jost Hite attended William and Mary College and served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In 1783, his father gave him and his bride Nelly Conway Madison, sister of a future President of the United States, the 483 acres on which Belle Grove house was later built. In 1794, construction began, and was completed in 1797. The grand mansion was built with limestone quarried on the property, and faced the Valley Pike to display the owners social and financial status.

After the death of Nelly in 1802, Major Hite married Ann Tunstall Maury, with whom he had ten children in addition to the three born to the Nelly. Twelve of these children lived to adulthood. In 1815, as the family grew, an addition was made at the west end of the original house to finish-out the one-hundred-foot facade as it stands today. The grain and livestock plantation continued to grow until Major Hite controlled 7500 acres of land with 103 slave workers. Hite also owned a general store, a grist-mill, a saw-mill and a distillery. He died in 1836, and nine years after Ann’s death in 1851, Belle Grove was sold out of the family. By the start of the Civil War in 1861, Belle Grove no longer existed as it had during the Hite era. There was a succession of owners before the Brumback family bought what remained of the farm in 1907, and then Francis Welles Hunnewell purchased Belle Grove from the Brumbacks in 1929. Much is owed to the thoughtful preservation efforts of these 20th century owners.


Belle Grove, one of the outstanding historic mansions of the Valley of Virginia, shows evidence of the cultures that came to the Valley with the early settlers. It also identifies with ideas that were shaping architecture at the time. Like other period houses built in the Valley, the design shows Thomas Jefferson's influence from the Tidewater and Piedmont areas, and also Classical Revival elements, an architectural innovation of the day. The interior is distinguished by fine woodwork in a transitional style ranging from Georgian to Federal periods. Outlasting weather, war, family triumphs and tragedies, Belle Grove testifies to the persistence and courage of those who strove to excel, and who built their homes to make a lasting mark on future generations.


As a prized survivor of regional and national significance, Belle Grove is a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia Historic Landmark, and a historic property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The centerpiece of the new Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historic Park, Belle Grove serves the Shenandoah Valley and Virginia as an educational center through the many interpretive programs it offers. Its highest priorities are to stimulate historical and preservation awareness among regional residents and visitors from the United States and throughout the world.

Tour Information

The Manor House

We invite you to visit us! Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Belle Grove offers guests inspiring tours of the region's premier authentic antebellum plantation. Belle Grove’s expert volunteer docents and staff lead guided tours of the 1797 Manor House daily from April through October, and on selected weekend days in November, including the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving Day. Tours begin 15 minutes after each hour, departing from 10:15 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from 1:15 to 4:15 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets for individuals for the forty-five minute guided tour, which do not require reservations, are available at the Admissions Desk under the Front Porch and in advance here on our website. We suggest that you plan to arrive on the hour to make your tour ticket purchase.  

Visitors may also enjoy a complimentary, self-guided tour of the historic landscape and garden, and can explore the Museum Shop late March through December, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Belle Grove’s beautiful picnic grove, complete with panoramic mountain views, is also available for visitors’ use during museum touring hours.



Price: $10.00


Price: $8.00


Price: $6.00

Address Information
Belle Grove Plantation
336 Belle Grove Road
Middletown, VA 22645
Phone: (540) 869-2028
Website: http://www.bellegrove.org