Colonial Williamsburg


Statue of Patrick Henry, Colonial Williamsburg





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Historic first capitol of Virginia, now devoted to colonial America through living history and period architecture.


1. Bruton Parish Church
Built in 1715, the current church was the third Anglican Church for a parish founded in 1660.
2. The Capitol
Reconstructed in 1934, the Capitol originally contained the House of Burgesses, the governor’s council chambers, and the general court.
3. George Wythe House
This brick home was built in 1750 for Wythe, who was a lawyer, teacher of law, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
4. Governor’s Palace
Built 1708—20 for the colonial governors of Virginia, it later served as the residence for Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson during their respective terms as governor.
5. Raleigh Tavern
Originally built in 1717 and named after Sir Walter Raleigh, it was rebuilt in 1932; this is where the House of Burgesses met when it was dissolved in 1773.
6. Peyton Randolph House
Originally built in 1715, it was purchased in 1721 by Randolph’s father — who built a second structure — and willed to his son. Peyton Randolph built a middle structure to unify the whole.

The Americans ... revolted not to create but to maintain their freedom. American society had developed differently from that of the Old World. From the time of the first settlements in the seventeenth century, wrote Samuel Williams in 1794, every thing tended to produce, and to establish the spirit of freedom. While the speculative philosophers of Europe were laboriously searching their minds in an effort to decide the first principles of liberty, the Americans had come to experience vividly that liberty in their everyday lives.

Gordon S. Wood
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)