Tag Archives: American Revolution

The Menokin Glass House: A Revolutionary Project

Once the home of Declaration of Independence signer Francis Lightfoot Lee, now the evocative crumbling ruins of an 18th century mansion in Virginia’s Northern Neck, Menokin aspires to a future like no other among American Revolutionary sites and conservation efforts.

Menokin is a multi-faceted place, rich in heritage and stories. The site spans 500 acres of land in close proximity to Washington, DC and other major cities and historic sites. At its center is the revolutionary rehabilitation of the Menokin house.

Remaining historical elements and some extracted structural materials from the house will be reinstalled, along with the beautiful woodwork that was removed before the house collapsed in the 1960s. The missing exterior walls, roof, and floors will be recreated in glass and steel to protect the remaining historic fabric, to restore volume and space, and to provide exhibit areas.

Architect Jorge Silvetti and his internationally known firm of Machado and Silvetti Associates leads an interdisciplinary team that has developed our plan. The Glass Project serves as the ultimate case-study in architectural innovation and moves beyond just breaking the mold of the traditional historic house museum. The real potential of Menokin lies in the opportunity to approach its preservation and interpretation in a truly innovative and revolutionary way, embodying the spirit of the place and Francis Lightfoot Lee himself.

“…bind ourselves to each other…with our lives and fortunes.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 marks the 247th anniversary of the signing of the Leedstown Resolves in Westmoreland County, VA in 1766. The document was the first organized protest of “taxation without representation” and was in opposition to the British imposition of the Stamp Act which required colonists to pay a duty on exports. Signers pledged “to bind ourselves to each other….with our lives and fortunes.”

Stamp actThe Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society (NNVHS) will present its annual program commemorating this historic event at Menokin, the home of Francis Lightfoot Lee, who, along with his brother Richard Henry Lee, signed both the Leedstown Resolves and the Declaration of Independence.

Signers highlighted in past years have been resolution author Richard Henry Lee and brother Francis Lightfoot Lee, as well as  Alvin Moxley, Meriwether Lee, William Sydnor, Moore Fauntleroy, Francis Waring, and William Roane.

The 2013 commemoration will feature the lives of signers Richard “Squire” Lee of Lee Hall, Robert Wormeley Carter of Sabine Hall, John Belfield of Belle Mount, and Joseph Peirce of Templesman.

The Leedstown ResolvesThe program is being prepared by the NNVHS and hosted by the Menokin Foundation at the Martin Kirwan King Visitor’s Center at Menokin, located at 4037 Menokin Road in Warsaw, VA. Driving directions are available on the Menokin website at or by calling 804-333-1776. The program begins at 10:00 a.m. and all are invited to attend.

Art Unveiling

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You are invited to the unveiling of the original pen and ink drawing of Belle Mount by artist, Bill Martz. This event is hosted by Charles Belfield, a descendant of the Belle Mount Belfields.

The manor house at Belle Mount in Richmond County, Virginia was the home of John and Ruth Sydnor Belfield.

John, son of Thomas and Mary Meriweather Belfield, was one of the 115 patriots who signed the Leedstown Resolves (also known as the Westmoreland Resolves) in 1766 – one of the first deliberate acts of sedition against England.

John became a member of the Virginia Dragoons where he served in the rank of Major. He fought in many battles to help win our freedom from England, in order that we could become the United States of America.

His home at Belle Mount was destroyed in the War of 1812. No picture has ever been produced until now.

Bill Martz is a Northern Neck artist. You can find out more about him at billmartz.com.