Colonial National Historical
P.O. Box 210
Yorktown, Virginia 23690
WELCOME to Historic
Come, walk in the steps of Captain John
Smith and Pocahontas as we explore America's beginnings. Here is
where the successful English colonization of North America
Here is where the first English
representative government met and where the first arrival of
Africans to English North American was recorded in 1619.
Jamestown, the Beginning of America.
Over a century ago, the Barney family
presented the Association for the Preservation of Virginia
Antiquities with 22 1/2 acres of Jamestown Island, which included
the Old Towne site.
"Old Towne" refers to the area of
the triangular fort constructed by English settlers in the spring
of 1607. The Jamestown Rediscovery Project, begun in 1994 by Dr.
William Kelso, has located over ninety percent of the 1607 fort on
The Rediscovery team has excavated and
studied structures, wells and burials, and has collected over a
million and a half artifacts from the site.
In the 1620s, William Claiborne began
surveying the area to the east of the old 1607 fort. Governors,
planters and merchants soon purchased lots in what was called
"New Towne" and constructed dwellings there.
Taverns, warehouses and wharves served those
visiting the capital to attend the courts, to serve on the House
of Burgesses or to have their tobacco graded, weighed and taxed at
this official government port city.
When the capital moved from Jamestown to
Williamsburg in 1699, Jamestown was largely abandoned. Two farming
families, the Amblers and the Travises, owned the majority of the
1500-acre island by 1750. (The illustration to the left is a
photograph of the ruins of the circa. 1750 Ambler mansion, located
in New Towne.)
In 1934, the National Park Service acquired
the New Towne site and began excavations with the help of the
Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). J.C. Harrington, the project
leader, has been called the father of modern historical
The Glasshouse is a modern version of what
we believe the original Glasshouse of 1608 might have been like.
Today modern glassblowers create glass objects like wine bottles,
candle sticks, pitchers and paper weights.
We are uncertain as to what the 1608
glassblowers produced. Watch as artisans produce fabulous glass
items which you can purchase at the Glasshouse gift shop. No two
pieces are exactly alike as each is hand-blown from molten glass.
Jamestown Island Drive
Walk, run, bike or drive the Jamestown
Island Drive. This three and five mile one-way road through the
forest and around the swamps of Jamestown is awe-inspiring in its
wilderness view and majestic wildlife.
Eagles and other numerous birds, wild
flowers, turtles, deer and various other mammals make one believe
this is a place teaming with life. Pull-offs and waysides along
this roadway explain about the industries attempted by the early
settlers to make a profit out of this wilderness.
The Park Service at Historic Jamestowne has
no eating facilities. However the Visitor Center has three vending
machines on the back patio with drinks, water and snacks and there
are two small picnic areas in the parking lot with benches and
These picnic areas are "leave no trace"
areas so please take your trash with you when you are finished.
These picnic areas are the only areas where you may picnic at
Did You Know?
Captain John Smith produced a dictionary of over 500 Powhatan
Indian words. Opossum, raccoon, persimmon and Chesapeake are all
Powhatan Indian words.