Kentland Farm Historic and Archeological District
In 1991, the Kentland Farm Historic and Archeological District was entered into the National Register of Historic Resources and officially recognized by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources. This approximately 350-acre district includes a manor house, meat house, mill, and several other early farm buildings.
An archeological survey, conducted in 1991, confirmed that there is at least one extensive Late Woodland Period (AD 800-1600) prehistoric Indian village located on the farm. The investigation resulted in the recovery of hundreds of artifacts including weapons, stone tools and lithic debris from tool manufacture, fragments of aboriginal clay pottery, fire-cracked rocks from hearths or fireplaces, and other pieces. There is also evidence of Native American Shawnee habitation and migration in the late 1700s through Kentland Farm, Toms Creek, and the New River.
James Randal Kent acquired the farm in the early 1800s. According to the U.S. Census just prior to the Civil War, Kent produced corn, wheat, wool, butter, hay, clover seed, oats, flax seed, plus horses, cattle, sheep and swine, and owned 123 slaves. His property holdings were twice as valuable as the next wealthiest landowner in Montgomery County.
The manor house was built in 1834-35 as a two-story, five-bay, Flemish bond brick I house, extended two story ell, stone foundation, metal-sheathed gable roof, Federal and Greek revival interior and exterior detailing, and adjacent cistern, two-story kitchen, and hexagonal brick meat house (Patricia Givens Johnson, 1995).
Since Virginia Tech Acquisition
Virginia Tech acquired Kentland Farm on December 31, 1986 for the support of teaching, research, and extension programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Since then, the university has maintained the manor house in “weather- resistant” quality by repairing and painting the metal roof, repointing and replacing chimney bricks, replacing deteriorating wooden door and window framing, and making needed exterior repairs. The meat house frame has been stabilized with a Plexiglas protective cover added. Metal roofs have been replaced and foundations stabilized on the granary, corncrib, and mill.
Several historic sites have been surface excavated and results recorded in the manor house yard, garden area, slave quarters, slave cemetery, and Native American camp sites. The Virginia Department of Historic Resources completed this work.
Today, Kentland’s historic resources are utilized for teaching undergraduate classes, for class papers, photography projects, public school field trips, community tours, and other types of educational projects. A long-standing plan is to turn the manor house into a small conference center and agricultural museum.