7 Interesting Facts About Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is a great place to visit any time of the year, but we especially love to see it all decked out for the holiday season. Its 18th-century-style Grand Illumination is especially exciting with a torch-lit parade and lots of fireworks! Want to know more about Williamsburg year-round? Here are 7 interesting facts about Colonial Williamsburg:

  • Williamsburg was a “planned city.” Duke of Gloucester Street was intentionally cleared to be the central street through the town, and then buildings and streets were built according to a blueprint.
  • William & Mary, the nation’s second oldest college, is located in Williamsburg. Its Wren Building is actually the oldest university building in the United States.
  • The first hospital for mentally ill patients in North America, The Public Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, was located in Williamsburg. It admitted its first patient in 1773. The hospital is now the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.
  • 88 of Williamsburg’s original structures were preserved in the development of Colonial Williamsburg. More than 450 modern buildings were demolished in the first nine years of its restoration to maintain its authenticity.
  • The private foundation that runs Colonial Williamsburg has a Code of Ethics for all employees, board members, and volunteers. It implores them to “act professionally with honesty and integrity” and outlines their famous dedication to providing an authentic experience for visitors.
  • In 2016, Colonial Williamsburg had approximately 2,500, roughly double of the town’s population during the Revolutionary era. Williamsburg also utilizes the services of more than 800 volunteers.
  • The Peyton Randolph house, built in 1715, is said to be one of the most haunted homes in America, and one of several supposedly haunted spots in Williamsburg, making the town a popular spot for history buffs and ghost hunters alike.

Ready to explore Colonial Williamsburg? Learn more about our Colonial Williamsburg programs, as well as visiting Colonial Williamsburg as part of a Washington, D.C., itinerary.

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