Pharsalia - The Commission 2016



An 1814 plantation built by Thomas Massie for his son William as a wedding present, Pharsalia is located in the fertile Tye River Valley and sits on the shoulder of DePriest Mountain in Nelson County, Virginia. At its height, Pharsalia’s working farm was part of a family owned tract in excess of 10,000 acres. Crops and products produced at Pharsalia included wheat, hops, tobacco, potatoes, apples, cranberries, and smoked and cured bacon and hams. In addition to the original family smokehouse still on the site today, a large commercial smokehouse was operated for the commercial exportation of specialty hams by bateaux. The smokehouse from William Massie’s father’s home, Level Green, also graces Pharsalia today. It was disassembled and moved to the property in early 2000 for complete renovation. Nearby Massie’s Mill and Tyro Mill were large mills built and operated by the Massie family for the commercial production and exportation of fine wheat flours to Europe and Northern and Western American markets. Still in private hands, Pharsalia is quite simply one of the most beautiful properties in Virginia.

Pharsalia has many out buildings of interest including a brick structure once used as a slave hospital. There are also a number of interesting outdoor spaces. Possible sites include the large front lawn in front of the house, which has a gentle slope and offers expansive views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the herb and flower gardens, pool area and beside the tent. Last year both the artists and some quests expressed an interest in having the art work/performance spill over into the tent breaking down the separation between The Commission and the guests.

Pharsalia's name comes from an epic poem by Lucan 65 BE which recounts the story of the civil war between Julius Caesar and the forces of the Roman Senate led by Pompey the Great. More here;

As a working Southern 19th Century planatation, Pharsalia had slaves. To read more about slavery at Pharsalia:





(Google Earth Images)