Phil Dulaney, the owner of Swannanoa Palace and hundreds of acres of Afton Mountain property, died this past week, according to an obituary.
A post on the Swannanoa Facebook page spoke of Dulaney’s death on Saturday morning. The post said, “He will be greatly missed. We are so thankful and blessed that he allowed us to share his beautiful estate with the community for all these years.”
The land belonging to Dulaney and his family lies just off Interstate 64 in Nelson and Augusta counties, just beyond the entrance of Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The prize possession on the property is Swannanoa Palace, a 1912 Italian Renaissance Revival villa built by millionaire philanthropist James Dooley. However, the property has fallen into disrepair for decades.
Dulaney, 72, died in The Retreat at Fishersville from multiple health problems, including heart disease and diabetes, according to his obituary.
According to his obituary, his business holdings included ownership of Charlottesville Oil, owner/president of Charlottesville Realty Corporation, and operation of Skyline Swannanoa. He graduated from the McEntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Richmond.
In his later years, Dulaney dealt with criticism of the deteriorating property on top of the mountain, including the Inn at Afton and Swannanoa. He did spend significant resources on the renovation of Swannanoa. Any mention of a potential redevelopment of the area by a government leader was met with a swift rebuke by Dulaney, who said no one had talked with him.
The obituary says a memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Coffman Funeral Home Chapel in Staunton by Pastor Todd Latham.