Stratford Hall is one of the great houses of American History. Its magnificent setting on a high bluff above the Potomac River and its bold architectural style set it apart from any other colonial house, but its highest distinction is in the family of patrons who lived there. The plantation is still managed as a farm today on 1,670 of its original acres.
Thomas Lee (1690-1750), a prominent Virginia planter, built Stratford in the late 1730’s. Using brick made on the site and timber cut from virgin forest, builders and craftsmen constructed the H-shaped manor house, its four outbuildings, coachhouse, and stables. The Great Hall in the center of the House, with an inverted tray ceiling above fully paneled walls, is one of the most architecturally significant rooms to survive from colonial America.
Stratford was the home of Thomas Lee’s eight children. His sons Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, were the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence. Their cousin, “Light Horse Harry” Lee, the dashing Revolutionary cavalry leader and friend of George Washington, made Stratford his home for over twenty years.
Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) is the most prominent of the distinguished members of the Lee family born in the big sunlit bedroom on Stratford’s upper floor. Destined to become the General in Chief of the Confederate Armies, young Robert slept in the graceful crib still in its place.
After many years of private ownership, Stratford was purchased by the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association, Inc. in 1929. It is operated by a Board of Directors representing the 50 states and Great Britain. Visitors are invited to become Friends of Stratford. Their contributions assist in maintaining this non-profit organization.