But it's not just Duke of Gloucester Street...it's all of Colonial Williamsburg! And here we are, into part 5 of my series documenting our family visit to Colonial Williamsburg. Until the last week of June 2016, we had never been, but we desperately wanted to go.
It took a few years of saving, for we wanted to do it right, and the pay off was so well worth it!
While there, I took so many photos (and learned so much great history) that I knew I couldn't put everything into one blog post. It just would not work out at all to put hundreds of photos and all sorts of my own thoughts and commentary in one posting. So I split them up into...hmmm...well, let's put it this way - there will be at least one more posting after this one, so that's six postings for sure. Quite possibly there will be a seventh, but we'll see.
Anyhow, I hope you've been enjoying them. I certainly am enjoying reliving my time there. In fact, it's giving me a hankering to head back...
(and if you missed my other Williamsburg posts, please see the links at the bottom)
(and if you missed my other Williamsburg posts, please see the links at the bottom)
~ ~ ~
Anyone who knows me knows it's in my entire being, where I take it all in and I'm just immersed. For me it's not something 'fun' to look at once in a while, maybe in between trips to Disney World or Vegas or wherever. Not that I vacation in those spots - and not saying that they're not good to go to - but for me, if there is no 'real' history involved, I'm probably not going to want to go.
Okay, I'm sounding harsh here - not every vacation needs to be historical (really? Did I just say that?), but I'm sure, as a historian, I can tell you the true (historic) want and theme of our get-a-way.
To get all I can out of wherever I go.
Since returning from our vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, I've been asked numerous times, "Did you also go to Jamestown?"
"Did you go to Yorktown?"
And they are surprised at my answer.
"You were right there! Why didn't you visit those places?"
"Because I wanted to get the most out of Colonial Williamsburg."
"But you were there for four days! Certainly you could have made time for those other places."
They don't understand...
It was "Williamsburg or bust" for me.
Having never been before - and now knowing better - I think another couple days in Williamsburg would have been perfect, and then maybe a trip to the other two places after.
But I'm not complaining.
You see, as a social historian - and a living historian - I not only enjoy wearing the clothing of the past, but I enjoy intently studying...researching...and just engulfing myself in the past.
And that, my friends, is why I spent my entire vacation inside the Revolutionary City and not bopping about like your average tourist.
So, that being said, are you ready for my next set of pictures, including historical facts, snarky comments, and, of course, scenarios that include yours truly?
Well, as Jackie Gleason used to say, away we go!
First stop for this part of my Colonial Williamsburg series: the Printer & Binder and Post Office - - -
|William Parks' double-bay-windowed shop served as a stationer's, a post office, an advertising agency, an office supply shop, a newsstand, and a bookbindery.|
|In the 20th century, while excavating the site of Parks' shop, archaeologists unearthed several hundred lead border ornaments used for French and Indian War currency, as well as several hundred pieces of type.|
|Here I am with Mr. Parks himself!|
(Well, it could be!)
As I strolled down Duke of Gloucester Street (I love the fact that I can say that I strolled down Duke of Gloucester Street!), I ran into this fellow, who let his fingers (so to speak) do the talking. Yes, he was the man behind the scenes for the old-time puppet show featuring the historically well-known favorite (and period-appropriate) Mr. Punch (from the classic "Punch and Judy").
Walking along Nicholson Street, we came across the cooper trade shop:
|I could not find any information about the building you see here in this photo. Maybe one of the readers can help me out with a bit of history on it.|
But as it sits on Nicholson Street today it shows the cooper trade.
|Cooperage is the ancient craft of barrel making; it is considered an art form, really, that results in a water-tight, wooden vessel held together by nothing more than the hoops that surround it.|
Here in Colonial Williamsburg, modern technology such as the use of band saws and sanders that other 'historical' places may accept is forbidden. Here,the process remains unchanged from 250 years ago.
|Used for storage of food, water, and other necessities, a cooper’s barrel was also used prominently for shipping items over land and sea.|
Let's hop back over to Duke of Gloucester Street - - - -
|This photo of Devon and I is very similar - almost identical, in fact - to a picture in the first post of this Williamsburg series.|
So why show this one as well? Because it was taken by my Colonial Williamsburg photographic hero, Fred Blystone, and imagine my surprise when he also posted it on one of my very favorite Facebook pages, Colonial Williamsburg Friends.
For me, that's one of the highest honors...especially since I live in Michigan!
|The west end of Duke of Gloucester Street|
The Brick House Tavern:
|This lodging house was built in the early 1760s, where traveling tradesmen and others with services or goods to sell would arrange to stay here to show their wares to customers in their rooms.|
|Over time, a surgeon, a jeweler, a wigmaker, a watch repairer, a milliner, and several tavern keepers made Brick House Tavern their home.|
|As we spoke I come to realize he was a patriot and believed in the cause for liberty.|
|I, too, believed in the cause for liberty, but we must be careful of our conversation, for one may never know who might be listening...|
|Yes, I think it best if we move along. We'll speak another day.|
|It's not just people you meet on DoG Street: one minute it is a person, next it's a horse and coach, and then suddenly (how sudden can an ox be?) out comes oxen pulling a cart!|
I was disappointed the apothecary shop was not open during the time we were there. I was really looking forward to hearing about this ancient "drug store" and pharmacy.
|The Apothecary Shop|
Unfortunately the shop was closed while we were there.
|William Pasteur and John Minson Galt traveled to England to study medicine before returning to Williamsburg to practice. They were partners in this apothecary shop from 1775 to 1778.|
|In addition to dispensing drugs, they provided surgical, midwifery, and general medical services.|
Heading back to the trades, we found ourselves inside the spinning, weaving, and dyeing shop. I did not get as many good pictures as I would have liked due to the fact that on the day I was in the shop it was packed with interested people, so the backs of people's heads filled most of the photographs that I took.
However, I was able to get a few *decent* shots of the woman on the spinning wheel, for she was behind a rope barrier, therefore the throngs of visitors were not in the way.
|My wife is a spinner who presents this craft/trade at our colonial and Civil War reenactments, so she is always interested in watching how others spin and is not afraid to ask questions upon seeing something new or different.|
|Flax near the linen.|
|In the basket we see carding paddles to card (or comb) the wool in preparation for spinning into yarn.|
|Some of the tools of the textile trade.|
|As I mentioned earlier, I would've liked to have gotten some better photos, but there were quire a few visitors hanging about. |
I suppose that's a good thing, eh? (unless you're a photographer!)
So, as I walked past the home of George Wythe, Declaration of Independence signer and mentor to Thomas Jefferson, my wife, with my camera in hand, continued to take pictures. She must have taken a half-dozen of me walking past Mr. Wythe's House.
Actually, it's kind of cool when you think about it...
|Yeah...my wife knew to have my camera ready as I *just happen* to walk past the George Wythe house.|
And since we're in the George Wythe area, why not check out a few more places here?
Next to this house was a basketmaker's shop.
|Because the weather was rainy on this day, these two ladies chose to be indoors to craft their magic into basket making.|
It was easy to see the importance of the baskets in everyday colonial life. It seemed that every period-dress female was carrying one. I believe each was made right here in Colonial Williamsburg.
|"The baskets are made by weaving together thin strips of split white oak, and they come in as many sizes and shapes as there are jobs for them to do." (from the picture book Historical Trades by the Williamsburg Foundation)|
|As the sun began to set behind Chowning's Tavern...|
Way back at my first Colonial Williamsburg blog post (link at the bottom of this page) I mentioned the "pathway to the past," a walkway that leads from the Visitor Center to the historic city, and along this pathway I saw a beautiful site as the sun was setting:
|I'd come to find out this is the Great Hope Plantation, a historic living history farm representing African-American slave labor and working farmers, showing what they did and how they lived.|
"At Great Hope Plantation, you’ll learn through a hands-on experience how most Virginians lived more than 200 years ago. Appreciate and understand the music, songs, and dances of the 18th- century African-American community which borrowed from the many cultures of Africa and Europe."
Yes, there's got to be a next time visit to Colonial Williamsburg in my future!
Then there's the Capitol - - -
|Two capitol buildings served the colony on the same site: the first from 1705 until its destruction by fire in 1747; the second from 1753 to 1779.|
|The Capitol at Colonial Williamsburg housed the House of Burgesses of the Colony of Virginia from 1705, when the capital was relocated there from Jamestown, until 1779, when the capital was, once again, relocated, but this time to Richmond.|
|The architects charged with the restoration of Williamsburg chose to reconstruct the first capitol based on superior documentation of its design and its unique architecture compared to the second Capitol.|
|With the iron gate it almost has a sort of spooky atmosphere...|
Yeah...for some reason I thought I took more daytime pictures of it.
Well, at least I got the few photos that I did!
Speaking of night time....
|Evening has come to pass...|
Once completed you can then join my family and I on our June 2016 vacation to a true National Treasure, for that's exactly what Colonial Williamsburg is. It does help to 'restoreth thy' National pride!
The puppet information came from HERE
Some of the cooper information came from HERE
Information about the Brick House Tavern came from THIS awesome book
To go to the other parts of this series, please click the links you see below:
In case you missed part one of this series, please click HEREIf you missed part two, please click HERE
Part three? Click right HERE
How about part 4 - - click right HERE
All are filled with lots of photographs and historical information...and fun.
How they cooked? Click HERE
How they traveled? Click HERE
How they celebrated Christmas (with a few more Williamsburg photos!)? Click HERE
How about learning how a New England colonial farm family lived? Click HERE