THE BERRY HILL RESORT
About three miles west of South Boston, on the north side of the Dan River, an inconspicuous farm road turns south off the River Road. The half-mile drive, once lined with stately ailanthus trees, now all but gone, ends at a mossy stone wall enclosing a shady park of some thirty acres, in the center of which, riding the crest of a low hill, stands “Berry Hill,” the majestic home of the Bruces.
The completeness of the plantation composition is remarkable. It is even more remarkable that a house of such grandeur should so long have remained almost totally unknown outside the Halifax County area. The reason for this seems to be its remoteness from the other great mansions of the Commonwealth.
Justly acclaimed as the finest example of domestic Greek Revival architecture in the United States, Berry Hill was chosen in 1968 for inclusion in the book, Architecture in Virginia, commissioned by then Governor Mills Godwin. The reasons given for its selection are appropriate here:
“Berry Hill was almost the last of the great houses to be built in Virginia…Its isolated site lends an almost overpoweringly romantic aura to the distinction of its carefully executed portico flanked by two small Doric pavilions. The entire composition is on as grand a scale as any of Virginia’s domestic architecture, with the possible exception of the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg. It is a notable achievement, particularly when one realizes that it was carried to completion in a remote area of the Commonwealth. This isolation gives the entire composition as almost theatrical air of romanticism, in spite of the classic forms of the three buildings that frame the forecourt.”