Built in the mid 1800's by General Philip St. George Cocke, Belmead is located on approximately 1200 acres of land overlooking the James River. A slave cemetery is located on the premises, but only one grave is marked.
In 1895, Belmead was transformed into St. Emma Industrial & Agricultural College, exclusively for African American males. In 1947, an ROTC program was introduced and the school was renamed St. Emma Military Academy with a peak enrollment in 1964 of 370 cadets. Mainly due to desegregation, St. Emma closed its doors in 1972. The magnificent school was demolished, but the mansion still remains.
Today, horse lovers from near and far come to ride the over 30 miles of trails located on the property. Know as "The Castle" by locals, Belmead is an architectural wonder and is on the National Register of Historic Places.