Avoca Museum commemorates thousands of years of human history. The land on which the museum is situated was a thriving Native American settlement for millennia before the first English-speaking people arrived. The Lynch-Fauntleroy family occupied Avoca from 1755-1981 when the property was given to the Town of Altavista. Avoca was originally called Green Level by Col. Charles Lynch (1736-1796). The property was part of a land grant from King George II, given to Col. Lynch’s father in 1740. Col. Lynch came to the property around 1755, becoming a planter and distinguishing himself as a lawmaker and soldier during the Revolutionary War era. The property passed down through the Lynch family and upon the death of Charles Henry Lynch (1800-1875) his niece, Mary Anna Dearing Fauntleroy, inherited it. The current house is the third home to stand on the grounds and bear the name of “Avoca”. The previous two homes were destroyed by fires that occurred in 1879 and 1900. When the third and current house was built in 1901, Thomas and Mary Anna Dearing Fauntleroy commissioned Lynchburg architect J.M.B. Lewis to rebuild Avoca with modern appointments such as running water and water heaters built into the walls.
The Victorian Era was a period marked by opulence and conspicuous spending. At Avoca, visitors will have the pleasure of viewing the house restored to its original splendor. To take a step through the door at Avoca is to take a step back in time.
Avoca Museum is home to the Juliet Fauntleroy Native American Collection – one of the largest collections of its type in the nation. An avid and knowledgeable collector, Miss Fauntleroy spent her adult years scouring Campbell County for projectile points, percussion tools, gaming pieces, and other relics of Native American civilization. A large portion of her vast collection may be viewed in the museum’s Fauntleroy Gallery.
Visitors to Avoca will enjoy viewing artifacts in the Campbell County Gallery, located on the museum’s second floor. The exhibit includes land grants from King George II and King George III, Victorian furnishings, and artifacts used by civilians and soldiers during the Civil War era. The Civil War played a large role in the family’s history. The first owner of the current house, Thomas Fauntleroy, served as an infantry officer during the conflict and was captured during the Battle of Sailor’s Creek (April 6, 1865). Just prior to that engagement, Brig. Gen. James G. Dearing was mortally wounded at the Battle of High Bridge (April 5, 1865). Dearing would later die of the wound he sustained at High Bridge, making him the last Confederate general officer to die in the war. Shortly following his release from prison camp, Fauntleroy would marry Dearing’s sister and thereby come into possession of the Avoca property.
The museum’s grounds features a ca.-1880 cabin, a reproduction bateau, and a three-acre Arboretum along with beautifully-manicured gardens. Wedding and festival guests are invited to take advantage of Avoca’s lovely grounds, dance floors, patio, and restroom facility.
Avoca hosts several community events throughout the year, including:
- Jane Andrews Student Event Day for local elementary school students
- Mother’s Day Tea
- Harvest Jubilee & Wine Festival
- Night at the Museum Lantern Tours
- Christmas Open House
Interested in renting Avoca? Please find rental information and rates here: www.avocamuseum.org/rentals