Oatlands was formed in 1798 from 3,408 acres of prime Loudoun County farmland by a young bachelor named George Carter, descendant of one of Virginia’s first families. Basing his plantation economy on wheat production, Carter eventually branched out to grow other small grains; raise sheep for their wool; develop a vineyard; and build a mill complex on nearby Goose Creek for the grinding of grain, milling of timber, and pressing of flax seed to produce oil cake. In 1801, he began calling his plantation “Oatlands.”
In 1804, Carter began building a classic Federal-style mansion near the southern boundary of his property. As his farm took hold and his financial position strengthened, he added a terraced garden and numerous outbuildings to the property, including a propagation greenhouse, a smokehouse and a three-story bank barn. During the 1820s and 1830s, Carter added to and embellished his mansion.
Today Oatlands is a self-supporting co-stewardship National Trust Historic Site. The mission of Oatlands is to preserve the property for future generations, interpret the house and grounds to the public and serve as an educational resource. The grounds also are available for special events and private functions.