Visiting Richmond cont… Yorktown, and Williamsburg
Still no baby…so our frantic sightseeing continued. We headed to Yorktown battlefield:
Yorktown is the last major battlefield of the Revolutionary War. At Yorktown, in the fall of 1781, General George Washington, with allied American and French forces, besieged General Charles Lord Cornwallis’s British army. On October 19, Cornwallis surrendered, effectively ending the war and ensuring independence.
Next stop Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg was the thriving capital of Virginia when the dream of American freedom and independence was taking shape and the colony was a rich and powerful land stretching west to the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes. For 81 formative years, from 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the political, cultural, and educational center of what was then the largest, most populous, and most influential of the American colonies. It was here that the fundamental concepts of our republic — responsible leadership, a sense of public service, self-government, and individual liberty — were nurtured under the leadership of patriots such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Peyton Randolph.
Near the end of the Revolutionary War and through the influence of Thomas Jefferson, the seat of government of Virginia was moved up the peninsula to the safer and more centrally located city of Richmond. For nearly a century and a half afterward, Williamsburg was a simple, quiet college town, home of the College of William and Mary.
In 1926, the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church, shared his dream of preserving the city’s historic buildings with philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., and the restoration began.
Dr. Goodwin feared that scores of structures that had figured in the life of the colony and the founding of the nation would soon disappear forever. Rockefeller and Goodwin began a modest project to preserve a few of the more important buildings. Eventually, the work progressed and expanded to include a major portion of the colonial town, encompassing approximately 85 percent of the 18th-century capital’s original area.
Mr. Rockefeller gave the project his personal leadership until his death in 1960, and it was his quiet generosity of spirit and uncompromising ethic of excellence that guided and still dominates its development. He funded the preservation of more than 80 of the original structures, the reconstruction of many buildings, and also the construction of extensive facilities to accommodate the visiting public.
In the preservation of the setting of Virginia’s 18th-century capital, Mr. Rockefeller and Dr. Goodwin saw an opportunity to ensure that the courageous ideals of the patriots who helped create the American democratic system live on for future generations.
Map of Colonial Williamsburg:
I had visited Williamsburg before, but this was Bob’s first visit.
Fife and drum corp, Colonial Williamsburg, VA
Firing of Cannons, Colonial Williamsburg, VA
More Richmond, Virginia Sightseeing:
Agecroft Hall is truly an incredible story of historic restoration.
On the rolling banks of the James River stands a remarkable Tudor estate. And by Tudor, we’re not simply referring to an architectural style. This manor house was actually built in Lancashire, England in the late 15th Century.
For hundreds of years, Agecroft Hall was the distinguished home of England’s Langley and Dauntesey families. At the end of the 19th century, however, Agecroft fell into disrepair, and in 1925 it was sold at auction.
Hearing of this tremendous opportunity, Richmonder Thomas C. Williams, Jr. purchased the structure, and had it dismantled, crated, and shipped across the Atlantic, and then painstakingly reassembled in a Richmond neighborhood known as Windsor Farms.
Today, Agecroft Hall stands beautifully re-created, in a setting reminiscent of its original site on Lancashire’s Irwell River.
We then visited Tuckahoe Plantation
Tuckahoe Plantation, boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson, is a National Historic Landmark and is protected in perpetuity by a preservation easement donated by the owners. It is considered by architectural historians to be among the finest early 18th century plantation homes in America.
A guest at Tuckahoe in the late 1700s commented that the house seemed “to be built solely to answer the purpose of hospitality”. Built between 1730 and 1740, this unique Randolph family plantation home and its outbuildings have persisted through a rich American history. Almost three centuries have passed, and Tuckahoe still fits the description of southern hospitality.
The Randolphs of Tuckahoe
The Jeffersons’ time at Tuckahoe
After William Randolph’s death, Peter and Jane Jefferson moved to Tuckahoe with their children, including two-year-old Thomas, to care for the plantation and the Randolph children and stayed until 1752 when the young Thomas Mann Randolph came of age.Thus it was that Thomas Jefferson spent his youth at Tuckahoe and received his first education in the small one-room school house that still stands today. It is interesting to note the architectural features of Tuckahoe, including elaborate cornices, alcoves, grand staircases, and domed ceilings that may have influenced Jefferson’s thoughts on architecture.
Segway Tour of Richmond, Virginia
St. Pauls Episcopal Church Richmond VA
Another Richmond landmark church. This one is famous for its Tiffany windows, so if you are a stained glass or Tiffany fan, this is the place to see. As Paul M noted in his review, this church is also famous as being the place where Jefferson Davis learned the he had lost the Civil War from Robert E. Lee.
The church is also famous for being built by legendary Greek Revival Architect Thomas S Stewart and was completed in 1845. . A massive entrance portico of eight columns with ornate Corinthian capitals dominates the exterior of the building. An octagonal dome replaced the original 225 foot-high spire, long since removed due to fear of its instability. This church is an excellent example of Greek Revival church architecture.
On Sunday April 2nThis Church is where President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis got the message from Robert E. Lee that the South had lost the Civil War.d 1865, whilst attending this Church, Jefferson Davis got a message from Lee stating that he was withdrawing from Petersburg – that the 10 month siege was over – and thus he could no longer defend Richmond. General Grant and the Union army were on their way. Davis evacuated the Confederate Government from the city and then Lee surrendered at Appomattox exactly one week later.
Can you imagine this? You can sit in the same pew that Davis sat in when he was given that message. 10 months earlier Lee had been thwarting Grant, Sherman was getting stuck in Tennessee and Lincoln’s re-election looked impossible. For a few horrible months it actually looked as if the South would win.
But then Atlanta falls, Lincoln is re-elected, Lee gives in at Petersburg and the nation’s long nightmare has ended.
And in this Church, in a pew near the front, is where they finally realized that it was over.
More fun sights in Richmond VA
Tobacco Company Restaurant
On the corner of 12th and Cary Street in downtown Richmond was once an old abandoned tobacco warehouse. The four-story building was renovated to embody the spirit of Southern hospitality and charm and is considered by most to be the cornerstone of the Historic Shockoe Slip district.
Tredegar Iron Works, Richmond Virginia
The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is located on 8.9 acres on the historic James River in downtown Richmond. A National Historic Landmark, the Tredegar site contains five surviving buildings illustrating the Iron Works era. The National Park Service operates the Richmond National Battlefield Park Visitor Center located in the restored Pattern Building.