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.
Open by appointment only.
To schedule an appointment, please call (804) 652-3406 or email [email protected].
View the Recreation programs held at Dabbs House Museum.
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.