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Edgemont, Keene

Edgemont, Keene, VA, 1935

Name:  Edgemont

Date:  1935

Image Number:  Library of Congress, LC_DIG_csas_04140

Comments:  Edgemont was built in 1796 for James Powell Cocke, a justice of Henrico County, who moved to Albemarle County for its healthful climate as he suffered from malaria.  The design of this home is often credited to Thomas Jefferson, and his influence is strongly evident in the hybrid French and Palladian scheme advocated by Jefferson for domestic architecture.  The design of Edgemont features four porticos in reference to Andrea Palladio's original Villa Capra design.  Cocke's nephew, Dr. Charles Cocke, would live nearby at Esmont plantation about two decades after the construction of Edgemont.

Edgemont, view of home from back, 1935
Another view of a declining Edgemont in 1935

James Powell Cocke (1748-1829) was born at Malvern Hill, his family's ancestral home in Henrico County, Virginia.  In 1783, Cocke moved to Augusta County, and then in 1787 he relocated to Albemarle County and purchased sixteen hundred acres on the south fork of the Hardware River from Robert Nelson.  According to Albemarle County historian Edgar Woods, Cocke "fixed his residence on the east side of Fan's Mountain, and the west edge of Eppes Creek valley..."  Cocke was married twice, first to Elizabeth Archer, and then to Lucy Smith.  He had five children:  James Powell, Smith, Chastian, Mary, and Martha.

In his memorandum books, Thomas Jefferson first mentioned Cocke as early as 1771, when Jefferson became involved in a case between "Isaac an Indian" and Cocke, whom Isaac sued for freedom.  Later in Jefferson's presidency, he purchased glasses and a stove in Philadelphia for Cocke.  Most of Jefferson's correspondence with Cocke comes from the 1812-1813 period and concerns stocking Jefferson's fish pond with "Roanoke, chub."  Cocke died in 1829 and was buried in a small family plot behind the Edgemont house.

Edgemont stood almost forgotten for many years but was brought to light in 1936 by Charlottesville architect, Milton Grigg, who directed Edgemont's extensive restoration in 1938 for Dr. Graham Clark and later in 1946 for William Snead. 

Edgemont, 1979
Front entrance of Edgemont, 1979

Edgemont occupies an elevated site at the base of Fan Mountain in the Green Mountain neighborhood of Albemarle County between Keene and North Garden.  This home overlooks a terraced garden which descends to the Hardware River bottom lands.  This terraced garden was restored in 1981 by Edgemont's owners, Mr. and Mrs Leonard L. Dreyfus.  In 2018, the Edgemont home and farmland are the property of Edgemont Farm LLC.

Scottsville Museum wishes to thank Maxwell Johnson for his research and photographs on this Esmont community home!

1)  Hallock, Jennifer ; Gardiner Hallock & Kristie Baynard.  National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District. February 2007; Section 7, p. 6-11.
2)  Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Edgemont, 1980 Final Nomination Form, 002-0087 Edgemont; see:
3)  Woods, Rev. Edgar, Albemarle County in Virginia, Bridgewater, Virginia: The Green Bookman,
p. 169-171.
4)  The Jefferson Foundation, "James Powell Cocke." See:
5)  Johnston, Frances Benjamin (Photographer), "Edgemont, Keene VA, 1935", Images: LC_DIG_csas_04140 and LC_DIG_csas_04139; Call Numbers:  LC-37-VA-1151 and LC-37-VA-1150.  Library of Congress,  Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South.

Copyright © 2018 by Scottsville Museum

Top Image Located On:  Library of Congress, LC_DIG_csas_04140

Middle Image Located On:  Library of Congress, LC_DIG_csas_04139

Bottom Image Located On:  Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 002-0087_Edgemont_1979_VLR4thEdition



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