Member of Trail Networks:
Virginia Oyster Trail
Virginia Oyster Trail Site Number: 145875
Professional Distinction: Exhibition, Instruction
Oysters are not only a culinary tradition. They also hold a significant place in historic architecture as the chief ingredient in lime mortar. At Menokin, you can see oyster shell fragments in the 18th-century mortar in the building’s foundation. Oyster shells are still being used in the lime mortar mix for the reconstruction of the house. Come to Menokin to see Virginia’s favorite mollusk at work!
Built as the home of Declaration of Independence signer, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Menokin is now the evocative remains of an historic mansion surrounded by a vast, cultural landscape. The Menokin Foundation was established in 1995 to protect and breathe new life into Menokin, and immediately began work to not only reverse the deterioration of the house, but also chart a course for its future.
In casting this vision, the Foundation has always desired to do something innovative. Eighteen years of painstaking research, planning, conserving and gathering the pieces of the “Menokin jigsaw puzzle” have paved the way for an exceptional future.
Menokin is located in Warsaw, Virginia, in the rural region known as the Northern Neck. This region is the birthplace of three early presidents (Washington, Madison, and Monroe) as well as two Signers, Francis Lightfoot Lee and his brother, Richard Henry Lee. The plantation and house were established in 1769 on land once inhabited by the Rappahannock Tribe, who gave the site its name.
Now the Menokin Foundation is embarking on a revolutionary re-imagining of this historic structure. Led by the architecture firm of Machado Silvetti, The Menokin Foundation hopes to transform this house and 500-acre classroom into an educational and environmental experience like no other.
You are invited to step inside this unfolding story and experience the impact that this mysterious place has on those who have lived and visited here.