Constructed by Major Thomas Hoomes in the 1700’s, after having settled in Bowling Green in 1667, Old Mansion is said to be the oldest home still in existence in Caroline County. The length of lawn in front of the house or “bowling green” serves as the namesake for the Town and is surrounded by a circular driveway that was once a race track for some of America’s first thoroughbred horses.
The first Bowling on the Green Virginia Wine Festival in 2016 celebrated the historic home and its 128 acres as being the Commonwealth’s first historic property to receive perpetual protection under the authority of the Open-Space Land Act.
Today Old Mansion is privately owned and open to the public for Town-sponsored events.
In colonial America public bowling greens were often associated with taverns, the larger plantations and mansion houses. Most British military forts at the time had lawn bowling “greens” where officers were encouraged to bowl. George Washington was known to be an avid lawn bowler. There were public bowling greens located in all of the major colonial cities at the time including: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Annapolis, Williamsburg and, Charlestown. Additionally, there were many private bowling “greens” known to be located on Virginia plantations such as Green Springs and Westover and, highly suspected to have been located on many other southern plantations, including the Old Mansion House here in Bowling Green. There is a record of bowling in the streets of Jamestown in 1612. However, the first Virginia House of Burgess in 1619 outlawed “gambling at cards, dice, and bowling”. Lawn Bowling, because of its association with the British, died out in America after the revolution but immerged again in the later nineteenth century. Lawn bowling today is avidly played in countries around the world. There are currently many active lawn bowling clubs located throughout the United States.