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.
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.
Hours of Operation
Monday & Tuesday: By appointment
Campaign Before Richmond Sesquicentennial Weekend
Fri-Sat, June 20-21, Deep Bottom Park
Fri, June 20, 6-9pm, Campaign Before Richmond Symposium. For ages 12+. Join notable historians discuss significant battles that occurred north of the James River for control of Richmond and Petersburg in the last year of the Civil War. Discussion is followed by a Q & A session. Program is outdoors on the picturesque banks of the James River. Presented by Henrico Recreation and Park and the Richmond Civil War Roundtable. Rain or Shine.
Moderator - Dr. John W. Mountcastle, Brigadier General US Army (retired); James S. Price, author of “The Battle of New Market Heights: Freedom Will be Theirs by the Sword” and upcoming publication “Battle of First Deep Bottom”; Douglas Crenshaw, author of “Fort Harrison and the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm: To Surprise and Capture Richmond”; Robert E.L. Krick, author of “Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia” and numerous other Civil War publications; and Hampton Newsome, author of “Richmond Must Fall: The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, October 1864”
Sat, June 21, 9-11am or 6-8pm, Civil War Boat Tours- Tour the Civil War era James River. For ages 12+. Either enjoy our morning cruise or evening cruise. Information: (804) 652-3409. Preregistration required at www.henricohistoricalsociety.org. $45.
Outdoor Movie, Dumbo (G)
Sat, July 12, 8:30pm, Clarke Palmore House
For all ages. Enjoy the classic Disney movie Dumbo under the stars at a historic 1930s site. Come early for a tour of the house. Information: (804) 652-3409. Free.
Registration is required in advance for all programs with a fee.
To view a complete list of Recreation programs and register online, visit HCRP Connect.