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An interesting history

sunny 85 °F


Williamsburg, VA has deep roots in the colonial history of America. It was the capitol of Virginia Colony of the British Empire from 1699-1780 and represented King Charles III as the 'Crown Jewel' of his colonies in America. Its location was a center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution. The elegant Governor's Palace was the center of British power in the Virginia colony. Following the American Revolution in 1776 our forefathers decided on Philadelphia as the first capitol under the Articles of Confederation. However, New York City was the first capitol under the new US Constitution. In 1790 Congress declared Washington, DC to be the permanent US capitol location & very near Williamsburg, geographically. With the focus on the new nation's development Williamsburg's influence waned and the old Capitol neighborhood gradually fell into disrepair.
Fast forward into the 1930's--John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his wife, Abby chose Williamsburg as a Spring and Fall destination to visit due to the wonderful Virginia weather of these seasons. They purchased Bassett Hall along with 585 acres of gardens as their retreat spending 2-3 weeks there in springtime and autumn. It was previously owned by Martha Washington's nephew, Burwell Bassett who purchased the house in 1800 and named for him. It was small and intimate which appealed to the Rockefellers for their other homes contained 100 rooms or more. The Episcopal pastor in Williamsburg befriended John, Jr. and, over conversation the story goes, the pastor stated his dismay over the declining condition of the community, especially the historic district where the former Governor's Palace and other buildings of note once stood. Williamsburg represented America's First Planned Community. Mr. Rockefeller liked the idea of the restoration and agreed to donate a small amount, anonymously, to explore the possibilities. First, a single historic home was purchased, then researched, then rebuilt to its original 1760's condition. That led to another, then another. Rockefeller's seed money grew to $5M. Historians, architects, and the best skilled tradesmen were hired. Today, what is now known as 'Colonial Williamsburg' is a colonial village one mile in length by 1/2 mile wide. It contains homes and active businesses which produce and sell goods made in the manner of colonial times. Silversmiths, shoemakers, milliners, blacksmiths, harness makers, coopers, taverns, etc. John D. Rockefeller, Jr personally invested $68M by completion and left a legacy for all time.
He was the only son of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. the world's only billionaire at the time. John, Jr's philanthropies include purchase and development of Acadia Park, a 47,000 acre Atlantic coast area primarily on Maine's Mount Desert Island. He felt its beauty was to be left unspoiled and he gave it to the US Government who created Acadia National Park, the first on the eastern seaboard. Other philanthropies include, the Grand Teton Mountain range in Wyoming, Yosemite in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, all now National Parks. Before his death at the age of 86 he gave away over half a billion dollars to various educational, religious, and scientific causes.

Our visit to Colonial Williamsburg was delightful as we strolled through the various buildings and admired the beautiful gardens. Adjacent to the restoration is the College of William & Mary with its beautiful campus. Williamsburg Village Shops have dozens of eateries and boutiques to enjoy. Another oyster bar caught our attention so we finished our day eating on their patio. In the course of the day we recorded walking over 4 miles, per Pat's iWatch.

Posted by dixter 18:13 Archived in USA Tagged williamsburg colonial

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