Boyhood home of industrial tobacco pioneer RJ Reynolds, his father Hardin settled this rural Virginia homestead in 1825. Originally known as Rock Spring Plantation for the small seep that provided drinking water, the 598-acre agricultural property served as the core of what would grow to become a tobacco farm of more than 7000 acres spread across Patrick County. Constructed in two stages between 1843 and 1855, the brick house lies at the transition between Virginia Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Range, the western limit of bright-leaf tobacco cultivation. A tobacco manufacturing facility built on the property in the 1840s provided the fundamental background that helped RJ become one of the most successful businessmen of his time, once he established himself in nearby Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he built Reynolda House. The homestead property remained in the family until 1969 when RJ’s daughter deeded it to Virginia Tech to be used as a research campus. At that time, restorationist Frank L. Horton of Old Salem, North Carolina was enlisted to return the dilapidated character of the house and its granary, icehouse, dairy, and detached kitchen to their nineteenth century condition.
Today, at almost 800 acres, the Reynolds Homestead preserves a family cemetery and a burial ground used by Reynolds’ slaves. While the seven-acre core is interpreted as a historic site, Virginia Tech utilizes most of the property for timber research. Reynolds Homestead was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and became a National Historic Landmark in 1977.