Selma Mansion History


Purchasing of Land

The land upon which Selma is located was part of 10,000 acres purchased by Mrs. Ann Thomson Mason.


Original Building

The original house on the property was built between 1800 and 1815. The property passed through several owners, including the Beverley family, who owned it during the Civil War.


Well-Known Residency

For a year, Selma was home to Armistead Thomson Mason, a U.S. Senator from Virginia.


Tragic Disaster

The house was decimated by fire, leaving only a small portion standing.

New Owner

Elijah B. White purchased the property. This is the original architecture depiction from the South Elevation (meaning you are standing on the far left side of the mansion looking north at the building) of the first Selma’s reconstruction after the fire.


Beautiful New Construction

White enlisted the architectural firm of Noland and Baskerville of Richmond to design and construct the house, which now stands, refurbishing what was left of the estate into a kitchen wing. The construction was completed in 1902, a stunning example of Colonial Revival architecture. No expense was spared in raising the mansion to the height of opulence and comfort of its age, replete with all the modern conveniences available at the turn of the 20th century. These included “speaking tubes” (as seen above, which created an intercom system using the acoustics of heavy brass tubes running through the walls) and an ornate spigot in the gentlemen’s smoking room that piped water directly from the springhouse, accommodating Mr. White’s insistence that only natural spring water dilute his bourbon. The plantation became home to several generations of the White family for years to come.


The Height of Grandeur

By the 1920’s, Selma and the White family were known to throw the best parties and the grandest of balls in its Great Hall.  The property boasted 1,400 beautifully manicured acres and was regularly featured in the society pages of newspapers and magazines. Governors, Senators and Congressmen frequented the home, attending the many high society events held there.


A New Story Unfolds

The Epperson family acquired the mansion and opened the estate as a venue for weddings and events.


Lost in History

The property was sold to Peter J. ter Maaten, and the home was abandoned in the early 2000s. Vegetation, decay, and extensive vandalism overtook the once glorious structure.


“Most Endangered Historic Sites”

Selma was designated one of the state’s “Most Endangered Historic Sites” by nonprofit organization Preservation Virginia. The abandoned mansion became a favorite destination of history buffs, photographers, and architectural treasure hunters.


A Long-Awaited Rebirth