Dabbs House Museum
Dabbs House Museum
& Henrico County Tourist Information Center
3812 Nine Mile Road
Wednesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Monday & Tuesday by appointment
Dabbs House is a historic house museum with exhibit galleries and a research library. The Dabbs House served as General Robert E. Lee’s field headquarters during the summer of 1862. The public will have an opportunity to learn about the history of the Dabbs House from its use as a residence for Dabbs family to its tenure as Henrico’s police headquarters from 1941-2005.
Ttours through the 1862 field headquarters and browse the exhibit galleries, gift shop, and view a video on the history of Dabbs. The research library will be open by appointment and primarily house the research from the two-volume series Field of Honor: The Civil War in Henrico County, by Louis H. Manarin.
Dabbs House Programs
All ages. Come visit the nearly 200 year old home of Josiah Dabbs. Inside these walls were Henrico County’s first police station, the county alms house for the poor and most famously Robert E. Lee’s first headquarters as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. While staying at the Dabbs House, Lee planned and launched the Seven Days Campaign in June and July 1862 and cemented his place in history. While visiting the historic house, visitors can receive information on local, regional and statewide attractions at the county’s first visitor information center located in the museum’s lobby.
Holiday on Parade: Dabbs House Museum
All ages. Come meet our Civil War Santa at the Dabbs House and learn about Christmas during the Civil War.
Saturday, December 14, 1-4 p.m., Free
Dabbs House History
The Dabbs House was home to the Henrico County police force for more than fifty years although the actual history of the property and its residents goes back much further. The original two-room dwelling was built around 1820 and was known as High Meadow.
In 1859, Josiah Dabbs moved to High Meadow with his wife Mary Catherine. Josiah Dabbs succumbed to an illness and died at his home on Nine Mile Road on January 19, 1862. Recognizing that her home was in the direct path of the invading Federal Army, Mary Catherine Dabbs moved to another residence in the city of Richmond.
General Lee and his staff received permission from Mrs. Dabbs to use her vacant home at High Meadow as his new field headquarters. On June 23, 1862, Lee and his generals conferred at Dabbs House, and plans for the protection of Richmond were crafted. General Lee’s strategy for defending the Confederate capital resulted in the Seven Days Battle.
In 1883 the County purchased the property to use as an Almshouse for the poor. By 1924, Dabbs no longer served as the County Almshouse and was used as rental property for a number of years.
By 1940, the County reclaimed the home for office space. Architect Edward F. Sinnott, who also designed the nearby Henrico Theatre, was hired to remodel the building. Staff for the departments of Health and Welfare made their home at Dabbs as well as the County probation office and the WPA sewing project. In 1941, Henrico’s Police Division moved into the Dabbs house. In 1964, the County constructed the Emergency Operating Center, an underground shelter and command center, at Dabbs. In 2005, the County Police Headquarters relocated and the property was turned over to the Division of Recreation and Parks.
Henrico County Tourist Information Center
The new Henrico County Tourist Information Center opened its doors on September 17, 2010in the restored Dabbs House Museum. Conveniently located just off Interstate 64, the Center will offer travelers information about the County’s historical and cultural opportunities. As one of 61 certified visitor centers statewide, it will offer maps and guides from the Virginia travel industry as well as brochures from the other 60 centers across the state.
In addition to the Dabbs House history video regularly shown, the center will be able to broadcast other Henrico-produced history videos on demand. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henrico County, visitors can view a timeline of County events from 1611 to the present. In addition, visitors will be able to tour the Dabbs House, the first field headquarters used by Robert E. Lee after he assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia in June 1862.
Located at 3812 Nine Mile Road, the Henrico County Tourist Information Center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Tours of the historic Dabbs House will be offered from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Tours on Mondays and Tuesdays are available by appointment only. For more information, call 652-3406.