Chippokes Plantation State Park

Historical Significance

Chippokes Plantation, one of the oldest continuously farmed plantations in the country, has retained its original boundaries since it was established in 1619.

A 1400-acre farm located opposite Jamestown Island, Chippokes has been the site of an active agricultural operation for nearly four centuries. Unlike many large plantations along the James River, it was never a family seat during the 17th or 18th centuries, but changed hands frequently, serving as a secondary plantation managed by overseers or farmed by tenants, many of them African American. 

Named for Choupocke, an Indian chief friendly to early English settlers, early owners of Chippokes included Governor Sir William Berkeley, who acquired the property in 1671, and the Ludwell family, who owned the property from 1684 to 1824.

Chippokes Plantation consists of 20 historically significant buildings and structures, including two 19th century manor houses. The River House, the oldest dwelling on the plantation, is a vernacular frame building that was doubled in size in the 1840s. Other features of the historic area include an 18th century barn and numerous dependencies.

Dependencies include slave quarters, an 1850's kitchen, and tenant houses. Chippokes' holdings include 35 documented archaeological sites and 550 acres of agricultural land. The plantation is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   

Physical Description

Chippokes Plantation's landscape and view sheds reflect four centuries of prehistoric and historic habitation. The land has been farmed since the early 1600's by tenant farmers and overseers, including African Americans. Numerous 19th and 20th century dependencies are preserved on the site.

Geographical and Contact Information

695 Chippokes Park Road
Surry, Virginia
23883
Phone: 757-294-3625
Fax: 757-294-3299

Images

Chippokes Mansion

Chippokes Mansion

Source: Creative Commons, Flickr user: wirawan0 View File Details Page

Chippokes Mansion Interior

Chippokes Mansion Interior

Source: Creative Commons, Flickr user: wirawan0 View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “Chippokes Plantation State Park,” African American Historic Sites Database, accessed May 25, 2017, http://www.aahistoricsitesva.org/items/show/86.

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