Yesterday, Todd and I drove up to Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) to take in in the brisk fall weather, enjoy the changing of the leaves and just appreciate the restored town.
During the eighteenth century, Williamsburg became a major capital city, and played a role in the events leading to the American Revolution. On 30 May 1765, Patrick Henry spoke his famous words, “if this be treason, make the most of it” in denouncing the Stamp Act.
The idea of re-creating the town of Williamsburg originated with W. A. R. Goodwin, a local minister, who requested assistance from Henry Ford, boldly asking Ford to underwrite the cost of restoring the town where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Patrick Henry had lived and worked. When Ford did not respond, Goodwin approached John D. Rockefeller, who authorized Goodwin to purchase property in the town anonymously. Using 1790 as a cut-off date, Rockefeller had 720 buildings constructed after 1790 demolished and had eighty-two eighteenth-century buildings restored. The Rockefeller crew also rebuilt 341 buildings whose foundations remained. Completed in the mid-1930s, the Williamsburg reconstruction cost approximately $79 million.