Built in 1774, Smithfield Plantation was the home of Revolutionary War patriot Colonel William Preston. The home, designed in the tidewater plantation style, provided a haven of aristocratic elegance and became the social and political center of this backcountry area. The glazed windows, Chinese Chippendale railings and an impressive mantel are a testament to Preston's effort and expense. Colonel Preston was instrumental in creating the fervor necessary for revolution, and as the surveyor for a succession of Virginia counties that extended to the Mississippi River, he played a critical role in the settlement of the "west," i.e., beyond the Appalachain Mountains. The Prestons raised and educated their 12 children at Smithfield. Their descendants continued the family tradition of nation building with four Virginia governors, four senators, legislators, educators (founding of Virginia Tech and VMI) and military leaders (generals in the War of 1812 and Civil War). Today Smithfield's simple exterior belies the grandeur and turmoil of its past. Costumed interpreters share the culture and the lives of the early Prestons including Col. Preston's wife Susanna, after whom the house was named.