We visited Shirley Plantation earlier this week. The place is remarkable for several reasons including the family still lives on the second and third floors and that it's the longest, continuously operating farm in America. The house required twelve years to build, 1723-1738. Originally the labor was supplied by a mix of indentured Europeans and enslaved Africans but by the time the house was completed all of the labor was enslaved Africans. During the Civil War, one of the enslaved Africans, Siah Hulett Carter, escaped the plantation and went down the James on a boat and discovered the Union ship, the USS Monitor. He joined the crew of the Monitor remained until the ship was sunk. He stayed in the US Navy until he was honorably discharged in 1865. He returned to Shirley Plantation for Eliza Tarrow who became his wife. They moved to Philadelphia where they raised 13 children.
The family supports the preservation of the property including tours of the first floor of the house. Several of the out buildings remain. Most of the materials that were used during construction were manufactured on the property, including over one million bricks. The video is of the land side of the house, the river side is one of those below.