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May 29, 2015

High Stakes in Colonial Virginia

By Bill Sullivan

“They play away and play it all away.”

So wrote the great Virginia planter Landon Carter of his son’s penchant to win and lose fortunes at cards.

Today we can tune into ESPN and watch the ancient spectacle, reborn as the World Series of Poker: competitors waging a battle of wit, concentration and not a … Continue Reading »

May 29, 2015

Behind the Palace Wall — Come Inside to Hear More

By Karen Gonzalez

Virginians were very pleased with their very first palace in their new Williamsburg home. A professor from the College of William & Mary described the Williamsburg scene in 1724, when the Governor’s Palace was just 2 years old. “From the Church,” he said, “runs a Street northward called Palace Street; at the other … Continue Reading »

May 22, 2015

Can You Read These Signs?

Now that you’ve had a crash course in 18th-century signs, why not test yourself with our quiz?

Milliner ShopShoemaker ShopTailor ShopCarpentry ShopCabinetry ShopCooper ShopWheelwrightStableCarriage HouseGreat Hopes PlantationFoodwaysDubois Grocer

May 22, 2015

Signs of the Times

By Karen Gonzalez

Wander down the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg and you’ll see a variety of attractive and iconic shop signs. Replicated from English-style signs found in 18th-century London, they were an important part of advertising a business location.


Take our sign quiz.

Sometimes the nature of the business was clear. But not always.

Continue Reading »

May 22, 2015

Leadership: Standing for More Than Office


The 2016 presidential campaign is underway with a large slate of candidates, at least on the Republican side.

What are the qualities we look for in a leader?

Which is more significant, policy positions or personal character? Experience or vision?

In this imagined conversation at Christiana Campbell’s Tavern, Baptist preacher Gowan Pamphlet and esteemed jurist … Continue Reading »

May 21, 2015

Playing Jefferson

Brendan McMahon plays Thomas Jefferson in a production of “1776,” which plays through July 5 at Toby’s Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Md.

Bill Barker has been interpreting Thomas Jefferson for more than three decades. “I never took an acting course in my life,” he says, even though he became an Equity actor in the … Continue Reading »