James Dinsmore

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James Dinsmore served as the master builder to Thomas Jefferson and was responsible for the construction of many historic structures in Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia. [1]

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Dinsmore is believed to have been born in Northern Ireland around 1771. He moved to North America and became a U.S. citizen in 1798. He moved to Charlottesville to become a master carpenter for Jefferson. He also helped James Madison build Montpelier.

Dinsmore lived on Main Street and was an early Charlottesville developer. He built on 13 lots between 10th and 14th Street. Some of the structures still survive, including what is now the Dinsmore House Inn.

At the University, Dinsmore was master carpenter on Pavilions III, V, VIII as well as several dormitories. [1] In 1822, he built and designed Oak Lawn for Charlottesville merchant Nimrod Bramham.

Dinsmore is one of the prominent builders cited in the nomination form for the Fifeville and Tonsler Neighborhoods Historic District, which is both recognized on the Virginia Landmarks Register as well as the National Register of Historic Places. [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Web. A Piece of History, Dinsmore House Inn, retrieved March 29, 2012.
  2. Web. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form - Fifeville and Tonsler Neighborhoods Historic District, Maral S. Kalbian, Architectural Historian; Margaret T. Peters, Historian, October 8, 2008, retrieved December 9, 2018.

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