Another return to the series that I call "What's old is new again." (Tag: woina). The original photo that was posted was overly processed in HDR. (What was I thinking?). So here is a "re-do" that I hope is more tastefully done.
On May 15, 1776, from the Capitol of what was England’s first permanent colony in the New World, Virginia legislators instructed their delegation at Philadelphia’s Continental Congress to introduce a resolution to make the colonies independent from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence was the response by the Continental Congress.
The gentlemen at Williamsburg sat in the oldest representative assembly in what was then the world’s newest nation. The assembly traces its beginnings to 1619 when the House of Burgesses first convened at Jamestown.
After fire destroyed—for the second time—the Jamestown Statehouse in 1698, the burgesses decided to move the colonial government to Middle Plantation, soon renamed Williamsburg, and resolved to build the first American structure to which the word “capitol” was applied.
Henry Cary, a contractor finishing work at the College of William and Mary, raised a two-story H-shaped structure—two buildings with semicircular apses connected by an arcade. Though the west wing was completed by July 1703, it took Cary until November 1705 to finish all the work. The building that stands today is substantially the same as Cary’s, but it is the third Capitol on the site.
On Jan. 30, 1747, the alarm went out that the building was burning. When the flames died down, only some walls and the foundation remained. Reconstruction of the Capitol began in 1751, and the burgesses met inside for the first time in late 1753.
In this building, Patrick Henry delivered his Caesar-Brutus speech against the Stamp Act in 1765. Henry, George Washington, George Mason, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson and others played their parts in the legislative wars that ended in the American Revolution.
There were lighter moments. Both Capitols were the scenes of dances, suppers and other social events. But as fighting erupted in the North, the building rang to the debates over Mason's Declaration of Rights, his Virginia constitution and Jefferson's first attempt at a bill for religious freedom.
When Jefferson became governor in 1779, the General Assembly made the recommendation to move the government to Richmond. The building was last used as a Capitol on Dec. 24, 1779, when the General Assembly adjourned to reconvene on May 1 at the new state capital in Richmond. In subsequent years, the building served as an admiralty court, a military barracks, a law school and a grammar school in the Secretary’s Office. When a fire destroyed the building in 1832, the Capitol was being used as a meeting space for one of the state superior courts for this region.
Photo captured May 4, 2010.
New photos posted on most Mondays through Thursdays.
All photos are copyrighted and may not be reproduced or distributed without my expressed, written consent.