Located in the heart of Richmond’s historic Court End neighborhood, this Federal-style brick house was built in 1790 for John Marshall, fourth United States Supreme Court Justice. His home for 45 years, many of Marshall’s important court opinions were written at this address during his 34-year tenure as Chief Justice. Among the earliest residences built in Court End, the house was originally situated on an entire city block. Marshall’s property included a two-story law office, a stable, and detached outbuildings for a kitchen and laundry, as well as a small orchard, a brook, and ornamental and vegetable gardens. Eventually reduced to a small corner lot, the site remained in the Marshall family until 1911, when it was given to the City of Richmond. Slated for demolition, the house was saved by a coalition of local advocates and has been operated as a museum by Preservation Virginia since 1913.
Between 1965 and 1982, the Tuckahoe Garden Club worked with landscape architect Kenneth Higgins (who was married to Marshall’s great granddaughter ) to rehabilitate the John Marshall House grounds, and installed a small formal garden featuring plants popular in the eighteenth century. Flanked by institutional buildings, a brick retaining wall topped by a white picket fence and perimeter plantings of mature holly, southern magnolia, elm, mulberry, and willow oak buffer the site from the surrounding urban setting. In 1995, the Herb Society of America rejuvenated the formal garden plantings. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, the John Marshall House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975.