A Historic and Innovative Northern Virginia Farm – Morven Park

Hidden on the west edge of Leesburg, Va is a beautiful historic 1000 acre farm that was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Westmoreland Davis, Governor of Virginia from 1918 to 1922. Westmoreland Davis purchased Morvan Park in 1903 and put his energies into making it an agricultural show place.  He discovered that most of the farmers around him were using inefficient farming methods that were not as profitable as they should be. He studied and researched everything that he could find about farming. Morven Park became a testing station for new methods of raising crops and selective breeding of livestock. He started with dairy cows. He also bred heavy draft horses and lighter riding horses. In 1912 Davis purchased the Southern Planter magazine where he published his ideas and the results of his experiments.

In the early 1930s, he began raising turkeys on pasture in moveable range shelters, eventually having as many as 20,000 turkeys on pasture! Within ten years, Morven Park had become the largest supplier of turkeys in the United States. An example of his experimentation, Davis heard that Doberman Pinscher dogs were good for guarding turkeys on pasture from predators. He became a breeder of Doberman dogs. All went well until the dogs began doing what dogs like to do with birds – kill them. He realized that people were the best guards for the turkeys and got rid of the dogs.

The Governor’s House at Morven Park. The restoration of the house was completed in 2010.

Tours of the mansion are only $5 for adults. The inside is beautifully restored and furnished with the original elaborate furnishings of the Davis’. Touring the grounds and gardens is free.

Some of the farm buildings.

The property is beautifully landscaped. This is part of the boxwood gardens.

Another part of the garden.

To find out more about Morven Park and how to get there go to http://www.morvenpark.org/