Local News

Virginia estate once owned by governor up for auction

Posted September 8, 2014 4:33 p.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2014 12:20 p.m. EDT

— A North Carolina auction company is selling a bit of history in Virginia. It's an estate once owned by a Virginia governor, donated to a university and sold to be a bed and breakfast and an event center.

Nestled on the middle of 52 acres, the Stoneleigh Estate has proven to be too much for the current owner to handle. The 20,000-square-foot estate is up for auction, and online bidding is open until Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.

“It’s probably one of the top 10 houses in Virginia,” said auctioneer Thomas McInnis. “It was built at the height of the great depression. (It) took them three years to build it – 25 rooms, three stories, with a full basement.”

The home was built in 1929 by Thomas Stanley, a furniture tycoon who would later become governor of Virginia. Many of the furnishings, including a few bought at auction years ago at Chinqua Penn Plantation, are also up for auction.

“Chinqua Penn was in Rockingham County, North Carolina. Chinqua Penn was built by Jeff Penn and his wife, Miss Betsy,” McInnis said. “They traveled the seven continents of the world and amassed everything they wanted.”

The Stoneleigh Estate has been used to host events the past few years. McInnis calls the auction “a once in a career event.”

“Just like Reynolda House (Museum of American Art) in Winston-Salem or the Biltmore (Estate) in Asheville, there just aren’t many of these houses in this pristine condition that’s move-in ready,” he said. “The only thing you need to bring is your toothbrush and toothpaste and steaks for the grill.”