On December 14th, the membership of the NHPS met at the yearly meeting portion of the Holiday Dinner at the Historic Eastville Inn in Eastville, VA. At this meeting, the slate of Officers and Board Members were elected for 2017.
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An interactive exhibition of Eastern Shore artifacts with local archaeologist David Duer was held on October 23rd. He shared his insights and personal collection which illuminates thousands of years of Eastern Shore history. Mr. Duer has been exploring the Shore for over 30 years. His discoveries comprise a fascinating and diverse collection of artifacts and treasures which reveal much about life in the region. It was an exciting journey that helped participants to connect to the early peoples of the Shore and the factors that contributed to the "amazing" artifacts that can be found.
Since the discovery of the original James Fort walls by Dr. William Kelso in 1995 Historic Jamestowne has attracted world attention by continuing to unearth the lost remains of America’s first permanent English settlement. Last year, Archaeology magazine once again named them for one of the Top Ten discoveries of 2015 for their landmark excavation efforts and identification of four early burials. In 2016, they began focusing on the excavation of the historic church of 1617 where the first elected assembly met in a landmark step toward the founding of the United States. On Tuesday, October 11, 2016 the Northampton Historic Preservation Society visited the recently excavated site of the oldest successful settlement in the New World.
The morning included a guided tour by Joe Burkart with the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society and remarks from Dr. Kelso, now the Director of Jamestowne Rediscovery, about his remarkable path to unearthing the south palisade of the original fort. An exclusive guided tour of the 7500 square foot “Archaearium”, which houses over 4,000 artifacts, was also included. The building itself was carefully placed over the original site of the Jamestown Statehouse and the 17th-century structural features are visible through glass sections in the floor.
Following lunch, the group headed to Colonial Williamsburg to visit two connected museums, the first being the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. A guide was on hand to help navigate and answer questions regarding the special exhibit: “We Are One: Mapping America’s Road from Revolution to Independence.” On loan from the Boston Public Library this 90 map exhibit traces America’s story from the French and Indian War all the way to the creation of our great nation. At the second, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, a guide interpreted the “American Ship Paintings” exhibit. In the mid-19th century, ship captains and owners commissioned artists to depict their sea-going vessels in all their glory.
Park Hall, the oldest standing residence in Eastville, was an exciting addition to the NHPS Lecture on the Lawn series. Nestled in a picturesque setting, it easily can be overlooked on Willow Oak Road, yet it is a magnificent house that not be missed.
Since its construction in 1750 there have been many additions and changes, leaving Park Hall a gem to be cherished. The property, owned by the Scott family, includes a 19th century smokehouse and a small cemetery with the graves that include members of the Parker, Stratton and Thomas families.
On Sunday, June 26th, NHPS had its first Guided Walking Tour of Historic Eastville. The guided walking tour highlighted the rich history of the historic Eastville Court Green and many of the homes and commercial buildings located on Courthouse and Willow Oak Roads. Eastville architecture within the historic district showcase a significant collection of high-style and vernacular buildings.
Special thanks go to Dr. David Scott for leading this informative and entertaining tour!
Another nice day surprise on June 5th when a second presentation by Tommy Rayfield about Rinie's Rest took place. Built on part of a large tract of land acquired by Charles Carpenter in 1697, Rinie’s Rest is a beautiful retreat. The graveyard on the property inspires reflections about the people of Northampton County and the times in which they lived. This site connects numerous Eastern Shore families, including the Carpenters, Rayfields, Pettits, Dalbys, Floyds, Scotts, Badgers and Doughtys.
Owner Tommy Rayfield shared insights on the historical exploration of the site. The present house was built in 2009 in the Williamsburg style.
You didn’t know the Court Green was endangered, did you? While the Court House and many supporting structures have been lovingly preserved over the years, it is the uncertain future of the old Jails which has left state and local historians and preservationists concerned about the two structures, and in turn, the integrity and continuity of the court green complex.
Lack of funding and threat of demolition by neglect have dominated the conversation recently as county and town officials struggle to come to some viable agreement about the future of the buildings. Northampton Historic Preservation Society remains an integral part of these conversations as an advocate of protection, stewardship, and feasible solutions.
The 1914 Jail, a four-square brick, 1700 square foot structure currently sits vacant. In use until 2000, it was shut down in 2009 after the conclusion of lead and asbestos abatement. In its time, it was considered a large, modern facility and “worth a dozen of the dinky little hovels now in use as a jail.” And one which “could handle a good portion of the speak-easy crowd even if they are numerous.” The 1899 Jail, which sits behind the 1914 building, is a one-story brick structure and is in poor repair though it still retains many of its original architectural elements.
The annual dinner meeting for the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was held December 9th at Cheriton, Virginia. The featured guest speaker, Dick (DeCourcy) McIntosh, gave a thought provoking presentation encompassing his life and experiences on the Eastern Shore and an ongoing current public debate that impacts historical preservation: the uses and potential misuses of history. He warned that one must be careful with history and that “historic preservation” should mean preserving history, real history, as well as historical buildings.
The meeting also included the election of the new 2016 State of NHPS Officers and Board Members who are listed on the "About Us" page.
Special thanks go to: Mimosa Barn - Eyre Baldwin; Watsons Hardware; Gull Hammock; Amy B Catering AND NHPS Board & Membership
Article on the Harvey Building move appears in United Kingdom paper: Daily Mail Website
The Harvey Building, which spent its life in Oyster, Virginia is transported by barge into the Cape Charles Town
Harbor this morning. Right now it is being transported off the barge to its new home at the Cape Charles Yacht Center. This is the third move for this home, but the first by barge. The home spent the last hundred or so years watching the sun rise, now the home will have a great view of the sunset. - Gordon Campbell, At Altitude Gallery, Cape Charles, VA
Stratton Manor was the topic of this October NHPS Lecture on the Lawn. Stratton Manor is a delightful mid-eighteenth century house, built by Benjamin Stratton and enlarged by his son. It is an outstanding example of architectural innovations in Colonial America. Karl Wagner, owner, provided an interesting and extensive presentation about the history and various renovations of this fascinating house.
In 1790, Thomas L. Savage sold the property to John Stratton who served in the U. S. Congress from 1801-1804 and was a descendant of the builders of Stratton Manor.
Over the summer of 2015, the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was busy building awareness of the valuable historic treasures found in Northampton County. Through the efforts of NHPS, the Eastville Court Green is now on Preservation Virginia's 2015 Most Endangered Site List and the A&N Electric Cooperative Magazine August 2015 issue featured an article on Pear Valley and the role of the NHPS as its caretaker.
We have launched a Facebook page and newsletter to complement our existing website and YouTube Channel TimeVirginia. The NHPS Court Green Historic District Exhibit is now a member of the Eastern Shore Museum Network, the Eastern Shore Artisan Trail, and has been included in the Tidewater Virginia Museum Trail Map. The NHPS has accomplished all this, in addition to providing tours and functions at the Eastville Court Green and Pear Valley.
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On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon remembers your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation. You will have to enter Amazon through smile.amazon.com for NHPS to receive a donation.
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society dedicated a Historic Exhibit in the 1899 Courthouse on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at the Northampton County Court Green in Eastville.
A life-size figure in Colonial attire holding the Declaration of Independence is one of the first exhibits to greet visitors as they enter the historic display room which is a partnership between Northampton County and NHPS.
During renovations of the county administration complex, Northampton County administrators designated the front room of the 1899 Courthouse to be used for the historic display. This room was formerly part of the county records vault. It retains features of its former use and includes the original interior window shutters and fireplace built in 1899 with a replica of the original mantel and the vault door.
The exhibit affords visitors the opportunity to take self-guided tours through three centuries of history on the Northampton County Court Green. This historically significant story is told through exhibits that include period pieces, artifacts, narratives, and photographs.
Exhibits in the display room have items pertaining to three buildings, the 1731 Courthouse, the Old Clerk's Office dating to the late 1700's, and Debtor's Prison, ca. 1815. An original walnut raised-panel book press and a scale model of the 1731 design of the Courthouse is also included.
Exhibits also continue down the adjoining hall from the historic display room and feature early Northampton County photographs along the walls and five exhibit cases featuring items from the NHPS collection and the Barrier Islands Center and Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society
The Northampton County Court Green is one of the earliest and most complete in Virginia and listed as a Historic District on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
Directions to Eastville
From the North: From the Maryland state line, Eastville is about 50 miles south on US Highway 13. Turn right on Business Route 13 (Courthouse Road) or Route 631 (Willow Oak Road).
From the South: From the end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Eastville is about 15 miles north on US Highway 13 (Courthouse Road). Turn left on Business Route 13 or Willow Oak Road (Route 631).
More information about the Exhibit Hours can be found under the Properties tab above.
Watch the dedication at this link of the Historic Exhibit: Dedication
In 2013, the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was granted 501 (c) (3) status. The mission of the NHPS is to preserve the historic heritage of properties primarily in Northampton County, Virginia through education, advocacy, and restoration activities.
The NHPS is dedicated to continuing its century long historic preservation mission (previously known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Northampton Branch, and later as the Northampton Branch, Preservation Virginia).
Northampton Historic Preservation Society
P.O. Box 501
Eastville, VA 23347