Architecture in Virginia

George Wythe house in Williamsburg
George Wythe house in Williamsburg

The English who settled in Virginia in the early 1600's:1

...knew how to build only a brick or timbered house such as he had known in England; and with all the timbers and clapboards to be hewn and split by hand, this was a major undertaking, to be accomplished only by the more industrious and prosperous majority.

Even in 1686, a Frenchman observed in the newly settled region of Stafford County:2

Some people in this country are comfortably housed; the farmer's houses are built entirely of wood, the roofs being mae of small boards of chestnut, as are also the walls. Those who have some means, cover them inside with a coating of mortar in which they use oyster-shells for lime; it is as white as snow, so that although they look ugly from the outside, where only the wood can be seen, they are very pleasant inside, with convenient widows and openings. They have started making bricks in quantities, & I have seen several houses where the walls were made entirely of them. Whatever their rank, & I know not why, they build only two rooms with some closets on the ground floor, & two rooms in the attic above; but they build several like this, according to their means. They build also a separate kitchen, a separate house for the Christian slaves, one for the negro slaves, & several to dry the tobacco, so that when you come to the home of a person of some means, you think you are entering a fairly large village.

Building Stones of Virginia

Green Building in Virginia



1. Abernethy, Thomas Perkins, Three Virginia Frontiers, Louisiana University Press, 1962, p.6
2. Durand de Dauphine, A Huguenot Exile in Virginia, or Voyages of a Frenchman exiled for his Religion with a description of Virginia and Maryland, (Gilbert Chinard, editor), The Press of the Pioneers, New York, 1934, p. 102

Virginia Places