RECREATION & PARKS
Dabbs House Museum & Henrico County Tourist Information Center
Dabbs House Museum
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 museum provides a place to learn about the history of the Dabbs House from its use as a residence for the Dabbs family to its tenure as Henrico’s police headquarters from 1941-2005.
Visitors can tour the 1862 field headquarters, browse the exhibit galleries and gift shop, and view a video on the history of Dabbs. The research library is open by appointment and primarily houses the research from the two-volume series Field of Honor: The Civil War in Henrico County, by Louis H. Manarin.
Henrico County Tourist Information Center
The Tourist Information Center opened its doors on September 17, 2010 inside the Dabbs House Museum. Conveniently located just off Interstate 64, the Center offers 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. For more information on Tourism in Henrico, go to www.visithenrico.com.
Hours of Operation
Monday & Tuesday: By appointment
Click here to view programs held at Dabbs House Museum.
To view a complete list of Recreation programs and register online, visit HCRP Connect.
Registration is required in advance for all programs with a fee.
Eastern Henrico Holiday Extravaganza
Sun, Dec 14, 2:30-5pm
Step back in time to discover how Christmas was celebrated 150 years ago! Tour historic Dabbs House and explore how General Lee celebrated Christmas. Time travelers can sample popular 1860’s holiday refreshments while children create a Civil War era Christmas ornament. Make connections between past and present holiday traditions while interacting with a Civil War Santa Claus and soldiers. Information: 652-3409.
Life at Lee’s Headquarters
Sat, Jan 17, 1-3pm
Commemorate Lee’s 208th birthday by visiting his 1862 headquarters at Dabbs House Museum. Meet the General and his staff to learn a little more about the man and his relationship with those around him. House tours, reenactors, and children’s activities/crafts are provided. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Hidden History: African Americans at Dabbs
Sat, Feb 7, 1-3pm
All ages. Tour the museum and learn more about the role African Americans played in the history of this historic building. Go on four separate 15-minute tours that include the Dabbs’ family slaves, the Battle of New Market Heights, African Americans at the almshouse and Robert E. Lee’s slave, Perry Parks. Information: email@example.com
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.