Saturday, August 14, 2010
Jamestowne Settlement; a Bit of a Disappointment
After seeing so many historical sites with actual older and preserved buildings it was a bit of a disappointment for us to first step foot on Jamestown Island for the NPS tour of Jamestown. After passing through the visitor center you enter a catwalk which takes you across to the island of Jamestown. The catwalk extends for some distance just over a swampy, scenic area.
The reason for the disappointment? At one time from the period of the 1930’s through the 1950’s archeologists excavated and exposed all the remaining original foundations of Jamestown. However, as they were exposed, they started to badly erode and deteriorate, so they covered them back up again and then did a fake outline in brick of the original footing. So as you tour today, this is what you see.
Jamestown settlement originated by the Virginia Company of London, as 104 men and boys from England landed in 1607 as a commercial endeavor to tap the possible resources of the New World thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed. Despite terrible hardships, the colony endured as America’s first settlement. The park is laid out with a walking trail and signage along the way and the foundations of some of the more famous excavations done so far. The vistas are glorious, but it is for the most part, a very quiet National Park which sits right alongside the James River. Marc and I are surprised there aren’t more boaters out on this body of water as we watch two car ferries which run from here to the far side city of Suffolk. (I do love the way all the names around this part of Virginia hail from the old country of its origins!).
There are two major ruins. One called the Ambler Mansion and one the church built in 1908. It is the fourth reincarnation of a church at this site and was actually a joy to enter. The rest of the tour featured some pastoral vistas and water views and an excellent museum of artifacts dug from the site. Since we were so tired out from our extensive touring on Saturday, we called it a day about noon and headed for home.