Monday, August 31, 2015

35/15 Part 4 - Market Square

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.)

   Getting back on our walk, we now approach the Market Square. This would be where you could buy or sell goods. There are also many important buildings and houses on this square.

The Magazine



Magazine, August 12, 2015, 2:48pm

   We're going to start with the Magazine, because it's turning 300 years old this year! Not many buildings are that old in America, so it's quite an accomplishment. This original building is most famous for being the setting of the 1775 gunpowder incident, which set Virginians on the path towards revolution. After the capital moved to Richmond, the Magazine served many different purposes, the one that always sticks in my head is it was a dancing school. In 1889, the building was purchased by the Association of the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA for short, now Preservation Virginia). They slightly restored it and used it as a small museum/"collector's cabinet" of 17th and 18th colonial history and memorabilia. In 1934-1935, the APVA allowed Colonial Williamsburg to restore the Magazine. APVA must not have had it open much, for in 1949, CW made a special arrangement with them to open and interpret in the building. It wouldn't be until 1986 when the Foundation finally purchased the Magazine.

   The above photo shows a complete magazine. Judging by its restoration construction time and this YouTube video of Colonial Williamsburg from 1936 (but probably shot in 1935), I believe these Magazine shots were taken in 1936. (3:14 on the video). (But watch that whole thing, it is a treasure trove of Williamsburg after its initial Restoration)

   Differences? The path is much wider. A construction fence for the new Market House is now to the left, a shade tent is to the right. The doors used to have windows and a wooden door frame; now neither exists. The tree Lincoln is under and the one inside the Magazine wall are both now gone. Other trees are much higher. The paint color has changed. The wall has aged. Visible now is the Lightfoot Tenement, a building reconstructed after the initial Restoration.

The Magazine from Farther Away



Magazine, August 9, 2015, 10:38am

   Let's take a few steps back to enjoy the 300 year old Magazine some more. Although Market Square now seems cluttered up from this angle, it is only this corner of the Square. The rest is a peaceful green. On the left is the Guardhouse, reconstructed in 1948. The new reconstructed Market House is currently being constructed in front of it. The fences littering this shot will be taken away once construction is complete. On the far, far right is the old Market House, still being used for the time being.

Most of the trees on Market Square are now gone, along with some grass in the foreground. That barrel on the right? It is used as an inconspicuous trash can.




Courthouse, August 12, 2015, 3:15pm

   Here is our beloved, column-less courthouse. This original building was used as the courthouse of Williamsburg and James City County from 1770 to 1932. Once a new courthouse was built, the town gave this building over to Colonial Williamsburg. The outside of the building was restored, but the interior was used as the Restoration Archaeology Museum, opening April 24, 1933. The museum closed in 1989 and the interior was reconstructed to reflect an 18th century courthouse in 1991. The wildly popular Order in the Court is now held there five times a week.

   Changes? You can barely see grass in this picture. Oyster shells have taken over. They were adding uplighting to the Courthouse this summer, and the fence pictured came down just last week. Shutters are here now! The benches on the portico, courthouse signs, the window above the door, the horse hitching posts, the trees, the curb, and the lamppost in the forefront are all gone. The cobblestones are barely peeking out through the oyster shells.

   The house in the background on the right has changed names from the Archibald Blair House to the Grissell Hay Lodging House.

Market Square Tavern



Market Square Tavern, August 2nd, 2015, 6:44pm

   This is the Market Square Tavern. It is one of the original buildings in town, but I would say only partially. In 1859, part of the building burned down. Clearly, it was rebuilt. The left-hand side is still original though. Guests could rent a room here in the 1930's. Now, it is part of the "Colonial Houses" division of our hotels, and guests can still rent a room here! 

   Benches galore! Gone are the hitching posts, the lamppost, the curb, the flora, and the fauna. A new sign greets visitors to the tavern. New trees obscure 60% of the building. The building still looks great. Two colors are used on the tavern, instead of what looks like three in 1935. The horse stepping stone and two paths to the road are still here. (The side fence isn't jutting out from the building farther, the gate was open). For some reason, the left-hand steps look wider in 1935.

Market Square Tavern Stable Yard



Market Square Tavern Stable Yard,
August 2, 2015, 6:00pm

   This is a stable yard! Now it is used for hotel services, bathrooms (building to right), and hotel parking. The door on the center building is blocked now. The lamppost is gone. I have no idea what building is behind the stable house in 1935. It must have been a remaining 19th/20th century building in town, because it is replaced by one of the outbuildings on the Allen-Byrd House property. There are less plants growing around the stable building, but more trees in the foreground. 

   The most surprising difference to me is the addition of the ball and chain on the gate. These can now be found on almost every gate in town. Were they not present at first?

Market Square Kitchen



Market Square Tavern Kitchen,
August 12, 2015, 4:40pm

   That is an impressive chimney. The kitchen is a reconstructed building.

   It looks like the lamp from the 1935 stable picture has migrated to this gate now and is not as far into the ground as it used to be. Less plants are present by the kitchen (there was a simple garden between the kitchen and the stables). There is now a garden and trees on the other side of the path.

   Again, the ball and chain on the gate were added after 1935. I didn't notice until writing this post up, so I have no research to go off this. After the initial Restoration, there is more documentation on changes in town, so I'm sure the answer is buried... somewhere.

   Let's go inside the Tavern.

Chimney of the Great Room/Common Room



Common Room Fireplace, 2015

   This is in the Great Room in 1935, now called the Common Room. It is open to all the hotel guests in the Market Square Tavern as a meeting/sitting area. This is on the left side of the tavern, so this is the remaining original building portion.

   In 1935, everything looks very prim, proper, and well-lit, like someone spruced it up for a nice camera shoot. In 2015, the room was not spruced up and extra lights were not brought in. The furniture and portraits have all been changed out. The painting over the mantel in 1935 is "Girl With Dove." The fireplace and wood paneling are still the same, and look great!

Great Room/Common Room



Common Room, 2015

   Here is the rest of the room. To get your bearings, the cabinet on the left in this picture is the cabinet on the right in the fireplace picture. I love how much wood is used in this room. It's beautiful.

   Most of the furniture has been switched out, but some of the same type of chairs that are around the table in 1935 are still in the room. I am not sure if the door on the left is new. The door across the hall is closed because someone is staying there and closes their door.  

Detail shot at wood in the Common Room
   But seriously. This wood is beautiful in here.

Thank you to the Williamsburg Inn for letting me see the Common Room in the Market Square Tavern.
Thank you to the Magazine for surviving this long. Here's to another 300 years!

Sources Used:
"The Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg" Architectural Record, December 1935
"Behold Williamsburg" Book by Samuel Chamberlin, 1947
"Williamsburg Before and After" Book by George Humphrey Yetter, 1988
"Legacy from the Past" by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1971
"The Williamsburg Restoration and its Reception by the American Public: 1926-1942," by Thomas H. Taylor, Jr., 1989
20th Century Timeline of Williamsburg, The CW Interpreter, Summer 1999
"Who is Grissell Hay and What is she Doing at Achibald Blair's House?" by Edward Chappell and Patricia Gibbs, Fresh Advices, May 1986
"Colonial Williamsburg Official Guidebook & Map," 1960
"Look Where You've Been..." [Title cut off], CW News, November 27, 1951
Market House Tavern Architectural Report
Colonial Williamsburg: Courthouse

View the whole 35/15 Project:
Part 1 - College of William and Mary 
Part 2 - Merchants Square
Part 3 - Buildings that Move
Part 4 - Market Square (You are currently viewing this one)
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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