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.

It is difficult to recapture the intensity of excitement felt by Americans in 1776 over the prospect of forming new republican governments. It is a work, said Thomas Jefferson, of the most interesting nature and such as every individual would wish to have his voice in. Even the business of the Continental Congress was stifled because so many delegates — including Jefferson — left for home to take part in the paramount activity of erecting the new state governments. Constitutions, remarked Francis Lightfoot Lee, employ every pen. ... Nothing — not the creation of [the] confederacy, not the Continental Congress, not the war, not the French alliance — in the years surrounding the Declaration of Independence engaged the interests of Americans more that the framing of these governments.

Gordon S. Wood
The Creation of the American Republic, 1776—1787 (1969)