Major James Dooley, an executive with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad Company, completed construction of the $2 million Swannanoa in 1912. Dooley, who owned the Maymont estate in Richmond, built this 52-room marble palace as a token of love for his wife, Sally May. More than 300 artisans were hired to create the palace as a replica of the Villa de Medici in Rome. They used the highest quality materials available. Visitors today can still see the depth of James and Sally May’s relationship in places like the 4,000 piece Tiffany stained-glass window and a domed ceiling bearing the likeness of Mrs. Dooley. The name Swannanoa comes from Mrs. Dooley’s fondness for swans, which she liked because they choose their mates for a lifetime. Entry fee $8.00. An optional guided tour is available for an additional $2.00. Children 12 and under continue to be free. Cash or credit card only.