About the Historic Dinsmore Inn

A Piece of History

“James Dinsmore… a more faithful, honest and respectable man I have never known.”
-Thomas Jefferson

The Dinsmore Boutique Inn takes its name from the home’s architect and builder, James Dinsmore. Perhaps no other person had as much of a hand in shaping the famous presidential homes of Virginia, and the University of Virginia than Dinsmore. This house is a standing testament to his craftsmanship and legacy.  

Born in Northern Ireland in about 1771, Dinsmore became a naturalized citizen in Philadelphia on the fifth of June, 1798. His tools, purchased in Philadelphia at Thomas Jefferson’s expense, were sent to Monticello where Dinsmore worked as a master carpenter. In 1809, Dinsmore left Monticello to build Montpelier, the home of then U.S. President James Madison. Meanwhile, British troops had burned the nation’s Capitol in 1814, and Jefferson recommended Dinsmore to Benjamin Henry Latrobe, America’s first professionally trained architect, for restoration work there.

In subsequent years Dinsmore resided in Charlottesville, living on Main Street and speculating in property along that thoroughfare. From 1817 to 1825 he subdivided thirteen contiguous lots between Tenth and Fourteenth streets. Surviving structures from that period are the Vowles and Livers townhouses. The Dinsmore staff and guests currently occupy the Livers house.

During his time at the University of Virginia Dinsmore was the principal master carpenter for Pavilions III, V, and VIII; fourteen dormitories; and together with John Neilson, the Rotunda and Anatomical Theatre.

We have just completed a major renovation to upgrade the inn and improve the guest experience, including decadent fabrics and decor, more delicious food with an emphasis on local provisions and an expanded offering of packages and amenities. As we embark on this exciting new chapter, we want to thank the tens of thousands of wonderful guests who made our first 13 years possible.

Since opening in 2003, we have received recommendations from dozens of media outlets, including:

  • Travel & Leisure Magazine
  • CNN Travel
  • The Chicago Sun Times
  • NBC’s Today Show
  • The New York Times

We hope you will want to give us a glowing recommendation as well, and tell your friends and family about your memorable visit to The Dinsmore.