Click to See More Photos of This Site LANDMARK BY MISNOMER
The presence of a property called “Faulkner House” would normally seem fitting on a list of literary sites, but this gorgeous mansion on Charlottesville's Old Ivy Road, it turns out, is not much of a literary landmark at all. Its inclusion on our list is purely to emphasize how folks attach value to literary figures. Margaret Edwards, who does publicity for the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, which now occupies the building, admits that the name is somewhat ill-fitting. William Faulkner, who was Balch lecturer at U.Va. in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, likely never set foot in the house, which was at the time a private residence in mild disrepair. Edwards said that someone had the idea to name the structure after Faulkner after U.Va. purchased the property in 1963, just after the famous Southern writer died. And that, it seems, is where the story ends.

So why include Faulkner House, home to an organization dedicated to documenting the American presidency, on a list of literary landmarks? Its naming alone demonstrates how people attach value to wanting to honor a writer. That the name has stuck since its christening in 1963 despite the house's other uses is a testament to that desire. What does the word “Faulkner” add to a building name when the structure's function has absolutely nothing to do with literature? A sense of genius? Of Southern intrigue? Faulkner House undoubtedly is included on the Virginia Landmarks Register for its architectural and not literary traits, but it is nonetheless the name that first grabs attention while thumbing through the pages of the Register volume or scanning its index. The misnomer seems a somehow appropriate honorific for a complex figure who counts among his more famous lines “My mother is a fish.”

Faulkner House

Virginia Landmarks Register
March 20, 1984

National Register of Historic Places
May 3, 1984

2201 Old Ivy Road
Albemarle County

Full List of Sites Monticello


This site was created by Emily Kane as part of the University of Virginia's American Studies program.
For more information about AS@UVA, click below.

American Studies at U.Va.