Friday, August 28, 2015

35/15 Part 3 - Buildings that Move

What is 35/15? Read the Introduction first.

(Note: All 1935 photographs are on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library Omeka site. They are viewable by clicking the link provided, scrolling to the bottom of the page, then clicking the image.)

   The best journeys never go straight from Point A to Point B. They require detours!

   Like any great document, the Restoration of Williamsburg had many revisions over the years. We have had a couple buildings move around and out of the Historic Area. The longest move away belongs to Tazewell Hall, while the most recent move happened to the Cary Peyton Armistead House. Let's take a look at some of the other moves.

James Galt House



Custis Garden, July 28, 2015, 9:37am

   This image in the Architectural Record was cropped, so I apologize I don't have the full shot for this one, but it is pretty close. The foreground has stayed the same with the John Custis Garden in a Union Jack shape, but.... where is the James Galt House?!

   (Other changes include loss of a big tree in a corner of the garden, the fences trading their patterns, and many more plants growing.)

The James Galt House today on Tyler Street, 2015

   The Galt House has moved.

   The Galt House is an original building, located at first on the grounds of the Public Hospital / Eastern State Hospital, America's first mental hospital. The house's most famous resident, James Galt, was superintendent of the hospital during the 19th century. In 1929, the hospital donated the building to Colonial Williamsburg. Even though it had no 18th century building ever on the site, the Restoration team picked a lot across from Bruton Parish Church to fill out this part of town. A trestle bridge was built to transport it over a ravine to its new location. They planned to plan to eventually move it to a location of an unbuilt, similarly shaped building.

   In 1954, the Galt House moved again, this time to Tyler Street, outside of the Historic Area. It is still owned by Colonial Williamsburg, and is used as a private residence. Don't feel too bad for the house, next door is another original building that has moved a bit, the Powell-Hallam House. The Powell-Hallam House moved in 1928 from York Road (now York Street) so a new bypass road could be constructed (Lafayette Street). It moved to Francis Street to the right of the Moody House. It was there throughout the 40's, pictured in the 1947 book "Behold Williamsburg." It was eventually moved to Tyler Street.

Travis House / Greenhow Store


   "The Travis House, was moved bodily to its present location and restored upon the foundations of a Colonial house which had disappeared. The building, which originally stood on the northeast corner of Francis and Henry Streets, was presented to the Williamsburg Restoration by the Eastern State Hospital. It was erected on its original site in 1765 by Colonel Edward Champion Travis, who was a member of the House of Burgesses for 25 years. The foundations on which the Travis House now stands (fitting remarkably accurately) are those of a house owned by John Greenhow, a wealthy merchant of Williamsburg in the last half of the 18th Century."
- Architectural Record, Dec 1935


Looking East down Duke of Gloucester from Greenhow Store
August 2, 2015, 8:09am

   Today, Greenhow has reclaimed his land property. 

   In 1951, the Travis House closed up shop and was sent on its way. The John Greenhow Shop was finally rebuilt on its foundations shortly thereafter. The building was used as a private residence at first. In 1982, it was converted and opened as a mercantile store.

   Other than the obvious building-gone, new-building, mostly everything has changed. There are less trees along the lefthand side of Duke of Gloucester, and no plants or fence on the right. More buildings are now beyond the Travis/Greenhow site. Even the sidewalk we are looking down has changed bricks.

   Some things haven't changed. The bottom of the Courthouse on Market Square can be made out in 1935. One thing that seems odd is the brick path leading from the sidewalk to the main road. It does not line up with any of Greenhow's doors, so I'm putting my bets that this is the same path pictured in 1935 leading from the Travis House doorway. 

So where is the Travis House now?

Travis House, 2015
(Had to shoot from almost inside a bush to get the same perspective)

   The Travis House is back at its original location, the northeast corner of Francis and South Henry Streets.

   Prior to 1929, the Travis House had been used as the superintendent's house for the Eastern State Hospital. In order to build a new one, the hospital gave the building to CW. They moved it to the Greenhow location, using, like the Galt House, a trestle bridge to transport it across the same ravine inbetween it and DoG Street. I don't know if it was the same trestle bridge, I will keep doing research and see what I can find.

   In 1932, it opened as a restaurant. When King's Arms Tavern opened up in 1951, the Travis House closed and was temporarily moved to the southwestern corner of Francis and South Henry Street, diagonally from its original location. It was used most notably during its time there as the Jamestown Festival Commision headquarters and CW's Fife and Drum Corps home. In 1968, after Williamsburg bought the land from Eastern State Hospital, the Travis House moved back to its original site. This poor building, moved for a grand total of 3 times. It probably has the award for most moves in town.

Travis House at Night



Travis House at Night, August 2, 2015, 10:30pm

   The Travis House is the only building F.S. Lincoln took night pictures of. Perhaps because the building was open late for dinner, they wanted to advertise this unique selling point.

   Travis House is now not used at night. The lights are usually off (here you can see some basement lights on in the righthand side of the picture).

Unlike DoG Street, the Travis House is on Francis Street, an active car road, so it was fun/slightly terrifying trying not to get hit by cars to get this shot (long story short: I did not. It wasn't too busy).

Inside Travis House



   The Travis House is now used by Creative Services for CW's Marketing Department. The Dining Room in the picture is their conference room.

   All of the furniture and decorations are now modern office necessities. This is one of the few pictures in this collection where even if it was in black and white, you would still know it was not part of the 1930's or 18th century. The room has gone from an unknown light color (most likely white) with natural wood paneling, to yellow walls and white-painted wood.

   The unknown-to-me painting over the mantel has been replaced by the Travis House's sign (seen in action in the 1935 nighttime shot). I don't know if it is the actual sign or a reproduction. Either way, it is a great nod to the original tavern dining in town.

   A great big thank you goes to Creative Services for allowing me access to the Travis House! Thanks for taking care of it!

Sources Used:
"The Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg" Architectural Record, December 1935
"Behold Williamsburg" Book by Samuel Chamberlin. 1947
"Legacy from the Past," by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1971
James Galt House Architectural Report
Powell Hallam House Architectural Report
"Travis House Moved to Original Site," CW News, August 21, 1968
"Greenhow Project under way," CW News, June 1982
The King's Arms Tavern and the Alexander Purdie House Architectural Report
The Public Hospital: An Architectural History and Chronicle of Reconstruction
Eastern State Hospital - History

View the whole 35/15 Project:
Part 1 - College of William and Mary 
Part 2 - Merchants Square
Part 3 - Buildings that Move (You are currently viewing this one)
Part 4 - Market Square
Part 5 - Ludwell-Paradise
Part 6 - Queen Street to Botetourt Street
Part 7 - Raleigh Tavern
Part 8 - Paints
Part 9 - Botetourt Street to the Capitol Area
Part 10 - Capitol
Part 11 - No Longer Here
Part 12 - Francis and Nicholson Streets
Part 13 - Garden Edition
Part 14 - The Governor's Palace Gardens
Part 15 - Inside the Governor's Palace

Bonus 35/15 Posts:
35/15: A Dessert Order
35/15: Life in Williamsburg in 1935
35/15: Governor's Palace Wallpaper
35/15: Governor's Palace Wallpaper II

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