Williamsburg is an
independent city of Virginia located on the Virginia
Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia.
of the 2008 census
city had a total population of 12,481. It is bordered by
County and York County, and is an independent
of Economic Analysis
combines the city of Williamsburg with
James City County for statistical purposes.
Middle Plantation, a 1632
fortified settlement located on high ground on the Peninsula between the James and York rivers, it was renamed Williamsburg after the
capital of the Virginia Colony was
moved there from Jamestown in
The town received a royal charter as a city in 1722,
and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the
Williamsburg is well-known for Colonial
Williamsburg, the restored Historic Area of the city, and for
the adjacent College of William & Mary, established in 1693, the second-oldest university
in the United States.
Nearby, established in 1770, the
predecessor of the current Eastern State Hospital
was the first
known mental hospital in the United States.
Historic Triangle of Virginia,
which also includes Jamestown
and Yorktown, is among the most popular tourist destinations in
the world, with Williamsburg located in the center.
are linked by the National Park
Service's bucolic Colonial Parkway, a 23 mile-long (37 km) National Scenic Byway which is
carefully shielded from views of commercial development.
Ferry is located at the southern end of the Colonial
Parkway. State Route
5, another scenic byway, links Williamsburg and Richmond.
Most highway travelers reach Williamsburg via nearby Interstate 64
, U.S. Route 60
, and State Route 143
, each major
east-west highways. Commercial airline
service is available at Newport News/Williamsburg International
Airport (20 miles), and at Richmond and Norfolk airports (55 miles each).
All are located
along I-64 and offer limousine service to Williamsburg, as well as
Williamsburg also offers non-automobile driving alternatives for
visitors and citizens. The intermodal Williamsburg
Transportation Center is located in a restored Chesapeake and Ohio Railway
station near the Historic Area, downtown, and the College.
It offers Amtrak
, and rental cars. There, many visitors
transfer to the community's local transit
, which operates accessible equipment for the
mobility-impaired with bicycle racks on buses as well.
Prior to the arrival of the English colonists at Jamestown
in the Colony of Virginia
in 1607, the area
which became Williamsburg was largely wooded. It was well within
the territory of the Native American
known as the Powhatan
. In the early colonial period, the navigable rivers
were the equivalent of modern highways. For ease of travel, and
security from conflicts with the Native Americans, early colonial
settlements were established close by the rivers.
1630s, English settlements had grown to dominate the lower
(eastern) portion of the Virginia Peninsula, and the Natives had abandoned their villages
nearby such as Kiskiack (also spelled
"Chiskiack"), shifting to more remote locations, but attacking
To offer protection for the farming and
fishing communities lower on the Peninsula, the colonists built a
stockade across the peninsula to provide some security from attacks
by the natives.
along the center-line of the Virginia Peninsula, the location which became Williamsburg was some
distance from both the James
River and the York River, the ground sloping down to the shore of
Near Williamsburg, College
and Queen's Creek
into one of the two rivers. Between these two creeks the land area
was only about 6 miles wide, much less than at other points.
The area which became Williamsburg was settled in 1638 and named
, after its
location on the high ground about half-way across the Peninsula.
The cross-peninsula defensive palisade completed in 1634 was an
integral part of the creation of Middle Plantation, though its
exact route is long gone. Remnants have recently been discovered by
archaeologist on the Bruton Heights
School property adjacent to the site of the house of Governor John Page while
working on a Colonial Williamsburg archaeological research project.
Jamestown was the original capital of Virginia Colony, but was
burned down during the events of Bacon's Rebellion
in 1676. As soon as
Governor William Berkeley
control, temporary headquarters for the government to function were
established about 12 miles away on the high ground at Middle
Plantation, whilst the Statehouse at Jamestown was rebuilt. The
members of the House of Burgesses
discovered that the 'temporary' location was both safer and more
pleasant environmentally than Jamestown, which was humid and
plagued with mosquitoes.
A school of higher education had long been an aspiration of the
colonists. An early attempt at Henricus
failed after the Indian Massacre
. The location at the outskirts of the developed part of
the colony had left it more vulnerable to the attack. In the 1690s,
the colonists tried again to establish a school. They commissioned
Reverend James Blair
spent several years in England lobbying, and finally obtained a
royal charter for the desired new school. It was to be named
the College of William and Mary in honor of the monarchs of the time.
Reverend Blair returned to Virginia, the new school was founded in
a safe place, Middle Plantation in 1693. Classes began in
temporary quarters in 1694, and the College Building, a precursor
to the Wren
Building, was soon
Four years later, in 1698, the rebuilt Statehouse in Jamestown
burned down again, this time accidentally. The government again
relocated 'temporarily' to Middle Plantation, and in addition to
the better climate now also enjoyed use of the College's
facilities. The College students made a presentation to the House
of Burgesses, and it was agreed in 1699 that the colonial capital
should be permanently moved to Middle Plantation. A village was
laid out and Middle Plantation was renamed Williamsburg in honor of
King William III of England
befitting the town's newly elevated status.
Capitol Building, from a silver
gelatin photograph, ca. 1934-1950
Following its designation as the Capital of the Colony, immediate
provision was made for construction of a capitol building and for
plotting out the new city according to the survey of Theodoric Bland
. His design utilized
the extant sites of the College and the almost-new brick Bruton
Parish Church as focal points, and placed the new Capitol
building opposite the College, with Duke of
Gloucester Street connecting them.
, who arrived
in Virginia as lieutenant governor in 1710, had several ravines
filled and streets levelled, and assisted in erecting additional
College buildings, a church, and a magazine for the storage of
arms. In 1722, the town of Williamsburg was granted a royal charter
as a city, (now believed to be
the oldest charter in the United States).
Middle Plantation was included in James
when it was established in 1634, as the Colony
reached a total population of approximately 5,000. (James City and the
other shires in Virginia changed their names a few years later;
James City Shire then became known as James City
County). However, the middle ground ridge line was
essentially the dividing line with Charles River Shire, which was renamed
County after King Charles I fell out of favor with the
citizens of England.
As Middle Plantation, and later
Williamsburg developed, the boundaries were adjusted slightly.
of the colonial period, the border between the two counties ran
down the center of Duke of Gloucester Street.
During this time, and for almost 100 years
after formation of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United
States, despite practical complications, the town remained divided
between the two counties.
Williamsburg was the site of the first attempted canal
in the United States. In 1771, Lord Dunmore, who would
turn out to be Virginia's last Royal Governor, announced plans to
connect Archer's Creek, which leads to
the James River with Queen's Creek, leading to the York
River. It would have formed a water route across
Peninsula, but was not completed. Remains of this canal
are visible at the rear of the grounds behind the Governor's Palace in Colonial
hospital in the United
States was founded in the city in the 1770s: 'Public
Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds'.
modern times as Eastern State
Hospital, it was established by Act of the Virginia
colonial legislature on June 4, 1770.
The Act to 'Make Provision
for the Support and Maintenance of Ideots, Lunaticks, and other
Persons of unsound Minds' authorized the House of Burgesses to
appoint a fifteen-man Court Of Directors to oversee the future
hospital’s operations and admissions. In 1771, contractor Benjamin
Powell constructed a two-story building on Francis Street near the
College, capable of housing twenty-four patients. The design of the
grounds included 'yards for patients to walk and take the Air in'
as well as provisions for a fence to keep the patients out of the
Incident began in April 1775 as a dispute between Governor
Virginia colonists over gunpowder stored in the Williamsburg
Dunmore, fearing rebellion, ordered royal marines
to seize gunpowder from the magazine. Virginia militia led by
responded to the 'theft'
and marched on Williamsburg. A standoff ensued, with Dunmore
threatening to destroy the city if attacked by the militia. The
dispute was resolved when payment for the powder was arranged. This
was an important precursor in the run-up to the American Revolution
Following the Declaration of
from Britain, the American Revolutionary War
out in 1776. During the War, the capital of Virginia was
moved again, in 1780, this time to Richmond at the urging of then-Governor Thomas Jefferson, who feared Williamsburg's
location made it vulnerable to a British attack.
However, during the Revolutionary
War Williamsburg retained its status as a venue for many important
Having lost the Capitol from 1780, Williamsburg was reduced in
prominence, although not to the degree Jamestown had previously
experienced. Another factor was travel: 18th and early 19th century
transportation in the Colony was largely by canals
and navigable rivers
it had been built on 'high ground' Williamsburg was not sited on a
major water route, unlike many early communities in the United
States. The railroad
which began to
be built from the 1830s also did not come through the city.
Despite the loss of the business activity involved in Government,
the Williamsburg College continued and expanded, as did the Public
Hospital for Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds, with the
latter becoming known as Eastern
At the outset of the American Civil
(1861–1865), enlistments in the Confederate Army
depleted the student body
of the College of William and Mary and on May 10, 1861 the faculty
voted to close the College for the duration of the conflict.
Building was used as
a Confederate barracks and later as a hospital, first by
Confederate and later by Union forces.
Williamsburg area saw combat in the spring of 1862 during the
Peninsula Campaign, an effort to
take Richmond from the east from a base at Fort Monroe.
Throughout late 1861 and early 1862, the
small contingent of Confederate defenders was known as the Army of
the Peninsula, and led by General John
. He successfully
created ruses which fooled the invaders as to the size and strength
of his forces, and deterred their attack. Their subsequent slow
movement up the Peninsula gained valuable time for defenses to be
constructed at the Confederate capital at Richmond.
May 1862, after holding the Union troops off for over a month, the
defenders withdrew quietly from the Warwick
Line (stretching across the Peninsula between Yorktown and Mulberry
As General George McClellan
's Union forces crept up
the Peninsula to pursue the retreating Confederate forces, a rear
guard force led by General James
and supported by General J.E.B. Stuart
cavalry blocked their westward progression at the Williamsburg
Line. This was a series of 14 redoubts east of
town, with earthen Fort
Magruder (also known
as Redoubt # 6) at the crucial junction of the two major roads
leading to Williamsburg from the east.
The design and
construction had been overseen by Benjamin S. Ewell
, the President of the College of
William and Mary. He owned a farm in James City County, and had
been commissioned as an officer in the Confederate Army after the
College closed in 1861.
Williamsburg on May 5, 1862 the defenders succeeded in delaying
the Union forces long enough for the retreating Confederates to
reach the outer defenses of Richmond.
A siege of Richmond ensued, culminating in the Seven Days Battles
. McClellan's campaign
failed, and as a result, the War dragged on for almost three years
at great cost to lives and finances for both sides before its
conclusion in April 1865. Meanwhile, on May 6, 1862 Williamsburg
had fallen to the Union. The Brafferton building of the College
used for a time as quarters for the commanding officer of the Union
garrison occupying the town. On September 9 that year, drunken
soldiers of the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry set fire to the College
Building, allegedly to prevent Confederate snipers from using it
for cover.Much damage was done to Williamsburg during the Union
occupation, which lasted until September 1865.
About 20 years later, in 1881, Collis P. Huntington
's Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad
(C&O) built its Peninsula
through the area, eventually establishing six
stations in Williamsburg and the surrounding area. The Peninsula
Extension was good news for the farmers and merchants of the
Virginia Peninsula, and they generally welcomed the railroad, which
aided passenger travel and shipping. Williamsburg allowed
tracks to be placed down the main street of town, Duke of
Gloucester Street, and even directly through the ruins of the
historic capitol building.
(They were later relocated, and
Collis Huntington's real estate arm, Old Dominion Land Company
eventually donated the historic site to the forerunner of the
for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities
the main business purpose for the new railroad was unquestionably
shipping eastbound West
Virginia bituminous coal to Newport
News. Using the new coal
piers, it was loaded aboard large colliers in the harbor of Hampton Roads for shipment to New England and export destinations
Due in no small part to the tireless efforts of its president,
Benjamin Stoddert Ewell
education continued at the College of William and Mary, although
teaching was temporarily suspended for financial reasons from 1882
until 1886. Ewell's efforts to restore the historic school and its
programs during and after Reconstruction
became legendary in Williamsburg and at the College and were
ultimately successful, with funding from both the U.S. Congress and
the Commonwealth of Virginia. After 1886, the College became a
state school. Benjamin Ewell remained in Williamsburg as President
Emeritus of the College until his death in 1894.
Beginning in the 1890s, C&O land agent Carl M. Bergh, a
earlier farmed in the mid-western states, realized that the gentler
climate of eastern Virginia and depressed post-Civil War land
prices would be attractive to his fellow Scandinavians who were
farming in other northern parts of the country. He began sending
out notices, and selling land. Soon there was a substantial
concentration of relocated Americans of Norwegian, Swedish, and
Danish descent in the area. The location earlier known as Vaiden's
Siding on the railroad just west of Williamsburg in James City
County, was renamed Norge.
These citizens and their
descendants found the area conditions favorable as described by
Bergh, and many became leading merchants, tradespersons, and
farmers in the community. These transplanted Americans brought some
new blood and enthusiasm to the old colonial capitol area.
Williamsburg was still a sleepy little town in the early 20th
century. Some newer structures were interspersed with colonial-era
buildings, but the town was much less progressive than other busier
communities of similar size in Virginia. Some local lore
indicates that the residents were satisfied with it that way, and
Peninsula journalist, author and historian Parke S. Rouse Jr.
has pointed this out in his
published work. On June 26, 1912, the Richmond
newspaper ran an editorial which dubbed the
' for "Tuesday was election
day in Williamsburg but nobody remembered it. The clerk forgot to
wake the electoral board, the electoral board could not arouse
itself long enough to have the ballots printed, the candidates
forgot they were running, the voters forgot they were alive."
However, even if such complacency existed, a dream of one
Episcopalian priest was to expand and change Williamsburg's future
thus providing it a new major purpose, turning much of it into a
massive living museum
. In the early
20th century, one of the largest historic restorations ever
undertaken in the US was championed by the Reverend Dr W.A.R. Goodwin of
Williamsburg's Bruton Parish Church.
Initially, Dr Goodwin had just aimed to
save his historic church building. This he accomplished by 1907, in
time for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Episcopal
in Virginia. However, upon returning to Williamsburg in
1923 after serving a number of years in upstate New York, he realized that many of the other colonial-era
buildings which remained were also in deteriorating condition:
their survival was at stake.
Goodwin dreamed of a much larger restoration along the lines of
what he had accomplished with his historic church. A cleric of
modest means, he sought support and financing from a number of
sources before successfully attracting the interest and major
financial support of Standard Oil
and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
and his wife
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller
combined efforts created Colonial Williamsburg, involving restoration of much of the downtown
Williamsburg area and the creation of a 301-acre Historic Area,
celebrating the patriots and the early history of
Colonial Williamsburg is Virginia's largest tourist attraction
(based upon attendance) and is the cornerstone of the Historic Triangle with Jamestown and
Yorktown joined by the Colonial Parkway.
In the 21st century, Williamsburg has
continued to update and refine its attractions. There are more
features designed to attract modern children and to offer better
and additional interpretation of the African-American experience in
the town. A century after Dr. Goodwin's work began, this
masterpiece of Virginia and United States history remains a
In addition to the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg, the
city's railroad station was restored to become an intermodal
passenger facility (see Transportation section below). Nearby in
James City County, the old ca. 1908 C&O Railway
passenger and freight station at Norge
was preserved and with a donation from
in 2006 to a site at the Croaker Branch of the Williamsburg
Regional Library. Other landmarks outside the historic area
include Carter's Grove and Gunston Hall.
of three debates between Republican President Gerald Ford and Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter was held at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall at
of William and Mary on October 22, 1976.
Perhaps in tribute to
the debate’s historic venue, as well as to the United States Bicentennial
celebration, both candidates spoke of a "new spirit" in
The 9th G7 Summit
was held in
Williamsburg in 1983. The summit participants discussed the
growing debt crisis, arms control and greater co-operation between
Union and the G7 (now the G8).
At the end of the
meeting, U.S. Secretary of State
George P. Shultz read to the press a statement
confirming the deployment of American Pershing II-nuclear rockets
Germany later in 1983.
On February 5, 2009, President Barack
took his first trip aboard Air
to a House Democrats retreat in the city to attend
and address their “Issues Conference.”
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of , of which,
of it is land and of it is water. The total area is 1.50%
Williamsburg is spread upon a ridge on the peninsula between the
James and York Rivers. Queen's Creek
and College Creek
(called in early
days Archer's Hope Creek) partly encircle the city.
is located on the I-64 corridor on the
Peninsula, 45 miles southeast of Richmond and approximately 37 miles northwest of Norfolk. It is in the northwest corner of the greater
Roads area, (officially known as the Virginia
Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA), which is the
34th largest in the United States, with a total population of
1,576,370. The area includes the Virginia cities of
Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York, as well as the North Carolina county of Currituck.
While Virginia Beach is the most populated
city within Hampton Roads, it currently functions more as a suburb.
of Norfolk is recognized as the central business district,
while the Virginia Beach seaside resort district and Williamsburg
are primarily centers of tourism.
Williamsburg's mild four season climate means outdoor activities
can be enjoyed year round. The weather in Williamsburg is temperate
and seasonal. Summers are hot and humid with cool evenings. The
mean annual temperature is , with an average annual snowfall of 6
inches and an average annual rainfall of 47 inches. No measurable
fell in 1999. The wettest seasons are the
spring and summer, although rainfall is fairly constant all year
round. The highest recorded temperature was on June 26, 1952 and
August 22, 1983. The lowest recorded temperature was on January 21,
National protected area
Age distribution in Williamsburg
As of the census
of 2000, there are 11,998
people, 3,619 households, and 1,787 families residing in the city.
The population density
people per square mile (542.4/km²). There are 3,880 housing units
at an average density of 454.1/sq mi (175.4/km²). The racial
makeup of the city is 79.54% White
, 13.34% Black
, 0.27% Native
, 4.58% Asian
0.75% from other races
, and 1.47%
from two or more races. 2.52% of the population are Hispanic
of any race.
There are 3,619 households out of which 16.5% have children under
the age of 18 living with them, 37.2% are married couples
living together, 9.6% have a female
householder with no husband present, and 50.6% are non-families.
35.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.4% have
someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average
household size is 2.07 and the average family size is 2.66.
distribution, which is heavily influenced by the College of
William and Mary, is: 9.6% under the age of 18, 46.0% from 18 to 24,
17.7% from 25 to 44, 15.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who are 65
years of age or older.
The median age is 23 years. For every
100 females there are 81.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and
over, there are 80.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $37,093, and the
median income for a family is $52,358. Males have a median income
of $28,625 versus $26,840 for females. The per capita income
for the city is $18,483.
18.3% of the population and 9.3% of families are below the poverty line
. Out of the total population,
29.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.5% of those 65 and older
are living below the poverty line.
Williamsburg is notable for the fact that a high proportion of city
residents derive a significant percentage of their annual income
from investment sources, either in addition to or in lieu of income
from work. This is because many retirees relocate to Williamsburg,
who typically draw income from investments such as 401
plans and the like (see also retirement community
The tourist volume of Colonial Williamsburg has attracted many
other related businesses to the area. Notable among these
was Anheuser-Busch, which established large operations in James City
County and York County just outside the city. The company operates
a large brewery there, and a subsidiary of
the company operates two of its theme
park near the brewery, Busch Gardens Europe, and Water Country USA.
Anheuser-Busch's subsidiary Busch
Properties also operates a commerce park, McLaw's Circle
, and Kingsmill on the James
a gated residential
neighborhood that contains a resort
As with most of Virginia (the Northern
Virginia/Washington D.C. metro area
being the notable
exception), Williamsburg is most often associated with the larger
. People who have grown
up in the Hampton
Roads area have a unique Tidewater accent which sounds different
than a stereotypical Southern
Vowels have a longer pronunciation than in a
regular southern accent. For example, "house" is pronounced "hoose"
in the Tidewater accent.
Williamsburg is perhaps best known for its
tourist and historical points of interest, the centerpiece of which
Williamsburg, which is essentially a living history museum, depicting the
lifestyles and culture of the 18th century colonial period in
history. Major points of interest in this historic
district include the Virginia's first capitol
building, the Governor's
Parish Church (the oldest continually-operating church in the United States), and the College of William and Mary.
highlights in the city include The Williamsburg Winery (Virginia's largest winery), the
Garden, and the National Center for State
Courts. Also located in Williamsburg are two major
theme parks, Busch
Gardens Europe and Water Country USA, as well as Go-Karts Plus action park and 2 miniature golf courses.
The enormous 200-acre Williamsburg Pottery Factory
shopping complex visited by 3 million people annually is located at
nearby Lightfoot, VA. High-quality artistic and ornamental items
are sold at the Market Square shops adjacent to the colonial area,
and at many stores on Richmond Road, including 3 "Christmas shops".
Richmond Road also has an outlet shopping center of various
discounted famous name brand apparels. President's Park is a new
educational attraction displaying outdoor statue heads of all 43
Presidents, each one accompanied by a descriptive biographical
The major daily newspaper
is Williamsburg Yorktown Daily at wydaily.com. The Daily Press, published in nearby
News, covers some local stories as well.
The Virginia Gazette
is a bi-weekly, local newspaper, published in Williamsburg, and is
the first newspaper paper to be published south of the Potomac River
, starting in 1736. Its publisher
was William Parks
, who had similar
ventures in Maryland.
The College of
William & Mary has two student newspapers; the student fee
supported campus newspaper is The Flat
Hat while the independent campus newspaper is The Virginia Informer.
& Mary students produce
many other publications and run their own radio station,
WCWM. Hampton Roads Magazine
serves as a
bi-monthly regional magazine for Williamsburg and the Hampton Roads
area. Williamsburg is served by a variety of radio stations on the
AM and FM dials, with towers located around the Hampton Roads
Williamsburg is served by the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News designated market
area (DMA), which is the forty-second largest in the U.S. with
712,790 homes (0.64% of the total U.S.).
The "city" which Williamsburg became in 1722 had portions located
in both James City and York County. In 1870, the Virginia
General Assembly changed the boundaries so that it was entirely
within James City County.
The new state constitution which
took effect that year also created the political entity known as an
, which is not
located in any county. Williamsburg subsequently met the
requirements and changed to that status, continuing to share a
joint court system. The city also operates a joint school division
with James City County,
under voluntary agreement which leaders revisit at planned
Williamsburg, as an independent city, has operated under the
form of government
since 1932. The governing body is composed of public-spirited
citizens serving on a part-time basis to decide major policy
issues. The Mayor
is elected by the city council
, and presides over council
meetings and served as the Chief Elected Official for the city. The
city council consists of five members that serve staggered,
four-year terms. A city manager
hired by the city council, and is comparable to a corporation's
chief executive officer
This person is usually a professionally-trained public
administrator, who is charged with implementing the policies and
directives of the city council, and has broad administrative
authority with strict rules prohibiting political interference in
2007, the current Mayor of the city of
Williamsburg is Jeanne Zeidler (daughter of former Milwaukee mayor Frank
), and the
Vice Mayor is Clyde A. Haulman. Other members of the city council
are Paul Freiling, Bobby Braxton, and Mickey Chohany. The current
is Jackson C.
shares constitutional officers, courts, and
City County Public Schools system (WJCC) with adjacent James City
County, and is the county
As a college town
, Williamsburg's large
student population has also resulted in a few conflicts with the
local city government. For example, in addressing concerns of
property values and noise complaints near the campus, the council
has undertaken initiatives to reducestudent off-campus residential
presence in the city by instituting a maximum occupancy rule of
three-unrelated persons for single-family dwellings, as well as a
plan to buy rental houses with taxpayer dollars and resell them
with the stipulation that the new owners must occupy them. Prior to
July 1, 2007, the voting registrar, David Andrews, had interpreted
Virginia law to exclude a high percentage of students. He argued
that students should be registered where their parents live. The
new voter registrar, Win Sowder, said she is registering students
as she would "any other resident of the city. If they're living in
the dorms for eight months out of the year, and have an address
located within the city limits on a Virginia driver's license,
they're entitled to register to vote."
public school system is jointly operated by the city of
Williamsburg and James City County.
City County Public Schools
system (known informally as "WJCC")
consists approximately 9,000 students in 14 schools—8 elementary
schools, 3 middle schools, and 3 high schools. Within the county's
boundaries, the two established high schools, Lafayette
are considered above average institutions. A third high school,
, opened in the Lightfoot
area in August 2007. An eighth elementary school, named Matoaka
, also opened at that time.
River Elementary School, located in the Grove
Community in the
county's southeastern end, is a magnet
It offers the International
Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme
, one of only five such
schools Virginia to do so.
2001–2002 academic year, the public school system was ranked among
the top five school systems in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in the top 15% nationwide by Expansion
There are also two regional
Governor's Schools in the area that serve gifted and talented
has also been the home to the College of
William and Mary since its founding in 1693, making it America's
second oldest college (behind Harvard University).
Technically a university, the College of
William and Mary was also the first U.S. institution to have a
Royal Charter, and the only one to have coat-of-arms
from the College of Arms in
London. The College campus closely adjoins the
District, and the Wren Building of the College at the head of Duke of Gloucester
Street was one of the earliest restored by the efforts of Reverend
Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin
and the family of John D. Rockefeller Jr.
as they began
creating what is now commonly known as Colonial Williamsburg. Over
70% of the students of the College either work part-time or serve
as volunteers in the community. Students contribute over 300,000
hours of volunteer service to the Williamsburg community
Universities are located within a one-hour drive of the city,
including Christopher Newport
University (Newport News), Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University (Norfolk), Hampton University (Hampton), Virginia Commonwealth
University (Richmond), the University of Richmond (Richmond) and Virginia
Union University (Richmond).
There are also three community
, offering associate degrees and college transfer
programs, within a twenty-five mile radius of Williamsburg:
Thomas Nelson Community
, Paul D.
, and Rappahannock Community
. A branch of Thomas Nelson Community College
is located just east of the city limits in James City
Williamsburg is served by three airports. Newport News/Williamsburg International
Airport, located in Newport News, and Norfolk
International Airport, in Norfolk, both cater to passengers from Hampton
Public bus service to Williamsburg is available
through a combination of Hampton Roads Transit and Williamsburg
Area Transit, requiring a transfer in the Lee Hall area.
International Airport provides services for Richmond area residents and
is about an hour's drive away. Williamsburg-Jamestown
, a privately owned but public use airport provides
general aviation services for personal and chartered aircraft and
is located approximately three miles from downtown
The primary airport for the Virginia Peninsula is the Newport
News/Williamsburg International Airport. The Airport is
experiencing a 4th year of record, double-digit growth, making it
one of the fastest growing airports in the country. In January
2006, the airport reported having served 1,058,839
passengers.Norfolk International Airport , serves the region. The airport is
located near Chesapeake Bay, along the city limits of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Seven airlines provide nonstop services to
twenty five destinations. ORF had 3,703,664 passengers take off or
land at its facility and 68,778,934 pounds of cargo were processed
through its facilities. Richmond International
Airport , located in Sandston, seven miles southeast of Richmond and within an
hour drive of Williamsburg.
Richmond International is now
served by nine airlines with over 200 daily flights provide
non-stop service to major destination markets and connecting
flights to destinations worldwide. A record 3.3 million passengers
used Richmond International Airport in 2006, a 13% increase over
Amtrak serves Williamsburg with three trains a day
stopping at the Amtrak Station. The line runs west along the Virginia
Peninsula to Richmond and points beyond.
A high speed rail
connection at Richmond to both the Northeast Corridor
and the Southeast High Speed Rail
are also under study.
Williamsburg is located adjacent to Interstate 64
U.S. Route 60
and runs east-west in the
area. State Route 199
officially named the Humelsine Parkway (after former Colonial
Williamsburg President Carl Humelsine), surrounds the city in a
semicircle. State Route 5
links the city with the James
along the north shore of the James River
, Interstate 295
State Route 31 links the city to
Jamestown and the toll-free Jamestown Ferry.
Parkway provides a bucolic low-speed link between the
points of the Historic Triangle
which in addition to Colonial Williamsburg, includes Jamestown and
It passes under the "Restored Area" in a tunnel
. With the exception of buses, commercial
vehicles are not allowed on the Parkway.
In the "restored" or Historic Area, motorized traffic is not
allowed on Duke of Gloucester Street, helping visitors to gain a
perspective of what life was really like transportation-wise in the
colonial days (before the invention of the automobile). There are
bus stops and some parking areas located conveniently nearby,
however. The only exceptions to this are for residents living in
the historic area, and members of Bruton Parish Church, who have
limited access and parking on Sundays.
service is provided by
and Hampton Roads Transit
The center also offers several modes of local transportation.
Williamsburg Area Transport
(WAT) uses the center as a transfer hub for its network of
handicapped accessible transit bus
routes serving the city, James City County, and most portions of York
County adjacent to the Williamsburg area, with hourly
service 6 days a week during daytime and evening
The community's public bus system, Williamsburg Area Transport
(WAT), has its central hub at the transportation center.
color-coded routes, with buses accessible to disabled persons,
serve many hotels and motels, restaurants, stores, and non-CW
attractions in the City of Williamsburg and much of neighboring
County and part of York County. The system also provides paratransit services and operates replica
trolley buses at the Yorktown Riverfront attraction.
connects with the much larger Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) (Route
116) bus system at Lee Hall in northwestern Newport News and at the
Williamsburg Transportation Center (HRT Route 121).
routes connect to many other cities to the east in Hampton Roads and Greyhound Lines
bus routes serve a nationwide network.
operates a bus line for the College of William and Mary and its students, faculty, and staff, connecting
the central university campus with points in the city of
Williamsburg and James City County, the law school campus, and
various outlying dormitories and auxiliary buildings owned or
operated by the university that are not contiguous with the main
The Newport News Waterworks was begun as a project of Collis P. Huntington as part of the development
of the lower peninsula with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the
coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads, and massive shipyard which were the major sources
of industrial growth which helped found nearby Newport News as a
new independent city in 1896.
It included initially an
impingement of the Warwick
. Later expansions included more reservoirs,
including one at Skiffe's Creek and
another near Walker's
Dam on the Chickahominy River.
A regional water provider, in modern times it is owned and operated
by the City of Newport News, and serves over 400,000 people in the
cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and portions of York
County and James City County.
The City provides wastewater services for residents and transports
wastewater to the regional Hampton Roads Sanitation District
- Chesapeake and
Ohio Historical Society
- Benjamin Stoddert Ewell (1810 - 1894) - Find A
- WPA_Guide: Colonial Williamsburg: The Corporate
- Obama invited here next month
- Obama taking first Air Force One trip as
- Obama Goes Airborne Today For First Time As
- Williamsburg Pottery
- Williamsburg Winery
- the Daily
Press (Newport News, Virginia)
- History of the Virginia Gazette
- Holmes, Gary. " Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television
Households for the 2006–2007 Season." Nielsen
Media Research. August 23, 2006. Retrieved on February 20,
- Williamsburg City Manager
- Williamsburg City Council
- Williamsburg-James City Courthouse
- " About James River." James
River Elementary School. Retrieved on February 24, 2007.
- Old Dominion
- Norfolk State
- Virginia Union
- About Us Richmond International Airport
National Historical Park website
- Duke of Gloucester Street
- Williamsburg Transportation Center
- Williamsburg Area Transport
- Route 121 Hampton Roads Transit
- Green/Gold Lines Williamsburg Area
- Waterworks — City of Newport News
- McCartney, Martha W. (1977) James City County: Keystone of
the Commonwealth; James City County, Virginia; Donning and
Company; ISBN 0-89865-999-X