Liberia House Historic Site – Manassas, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

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Liberia House Historic Site

This Federal-style plantation house was once visited by Abraham Lincoln to meet with generals during the Civil War. 


Constructed by Harriett Bladen Mitchell Weir and her husband William James Weir in 1825, the Liberia house was a plantation house. Across the property grew various vegetables and grain crops, as well as space for sheep, horses, cattle, and hogs. In the years leading up to the Civil War, it was considered one of the largest plantations in western Prince William County. The property was also home to some 90 enslaved people. 

The winds of change blew hard through the Civil War, with Liberia serving as the headquarters for General P.G.T. Beauregard and the Confederacy in 1861. As Union troops advanced, the Weir family was forced to flee south in March of 1862, and the house fell under the control of Union General Irvin McDowell and the Union forces.

Alexandria brewer Robert Portner bought Liberia from Robert Weir in 1888 and established a dairy on the property, though the Portners never lived onsite. 

In 1947, the Breeden Family purchased the property and lived there until owners I.J. and Hilda Breeden ultimately donated the house and property to the City of Manassas in 1986.

In 1989, the Weir Family Cemetery was created near the home. With permission from the family, 24 graves were exhumed from another site and relocated here. The plot was designed in the exact same configuration as the place where the family was discovered. The signage explains that Walter Weir, the youngest of ten children, inherited the property in 1867.

Know Before You Go

There are two theories about the enigmatic name of this plantation house. 

One is that William Weir, original owner and member of the American Colonization Society, shared that group's belief that enslaved people should be emancipated and sent to Liberia (a country largely founded by emancipated enslaved people). The other is that the name was that the name derived from the zodiac sign Libra, and Weir's in-laws often dubbed houses based on the signs of the zodiac.

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