In the 2nd year of the well-received NHPS Guided Walking Tour of Historic Eastville, town historian and NHPS board member David Scott continues to add new material to his informative presentation. In addition, new research pertaining to the "forgotten" history of the Eastville Court Green jails during the 1800’s and 1900’s, will be featured in a presentation by NHPS president Joyce Kappeler.
The walking tour will start at the Court Green, one of the oldest in Virginia, where you can imagine how it looked at various times during its 300+ year history. You will also learn about Eastville commercial and residential architecture within the historic district which showcases a significant collection of high-style and vernacular buildings.
Picture Eastville as the bustling city it was while in the midst of an economic, agricultural, and transportation boon and Courthouse Road was a major thoroughfare in the county. In fact, did you know that by 1921, Northampton and Accomack were considered the richest agricultural counties in the United States?
Since space is limited and preregistration will help the program to start on time, attendees are ask to register early using any credit card at the NHPS website link provided below. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12.
Register and pay using any credit card or PayPal. Be sure to scroll to the "Pay With Debit or Credit Card" of the linked page if you are using a debit or credit card. (You may have to enter card information twice on the PayPal site before it indicates the payment has gone through,)
Ticket(s) for Adults
Ticket(s) for Children
Excavations in Northampton at Pear Valley
and Newport House/Eyreville
From May 9-21, 2017, the Department of Agriculture/Forest Service sponsored a George Washington and Jefferson National Forest - Passport in Time excavation project in Northampton Virginia. In conjunction with the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Chesapeake Bay Archaeological Consortium, Department of Historic Resources, this field school, will test and document two important sites in Northampton County - Pear Valley and Newport House/Eyreville.
Pear Valley, owned and managed by the Northampton Historic Preservation Society, is the earliest surviving, single-room-plan house in Virginia. The site was a small Yeoman’s Cottage, dating to ca. 1740, once occupied by a gentleman farmer raising crops for market. The field school will undertake limited test excavations in an attempt to locate the foundations of the structure’s outbuildings, which will aid in site management and interpretation. Pear Valley is rarely open due to fragility of the site.
Eastern Shore of Virginia House and Garden Tour
Saturday, April 29, 2017 (9:30-5:00 Rain or Shine)
Be sure to tour these Northampton County properties during the Eastern Shore of Virginia House and Garden Tour on April 29th. Many of these properties are hidden from view and nestled amid mature landscapes or overlooking beautiful creeks.
Bottom left to right: Eyre Hall and
Top left to right: Historic Northampton County 1731 Courthouse and Court
Green (self tours), Cove’s End, Pear Valley (C. 1740).
Accomack County properties include Walston Place and Metomkin Farm.
To learn more about the House and Garden Tour and how to purchase tickets click here. (There is no cost for visiting the Historic Northampton County Courthouse, Court Green and Pear Valley.)
On December 14th, the membership of the NHPS met at the yearly meeting portion of the Holiday Dinner at the Historic Eastville Inn in Eastville, VA. At this meeting, the slate of Officers and Board Members were elected for 2017.
Not a member of NHPS yet? Consider becoming a member to be the first to learn about NHPS programs and receive newsletters about interesting preservation activities in Northampton County, VA.
An interactive exhibition of Eastern Shore artifacts with local archaeologist David Duer was held on October 23rd. He shared his insights and personal collection which illuminates thousands of years of Eastern Shore history. Mr. Duer has been exploring the Shore for over 30 years. His discoveries comprise a fascinating and diverse collection of artifacts and treasures which reveal much about life in the region. It was an exciting journey that helped participants to connect to the early peoples of the Shore and the factors that contributed to the "amazing" artifacts that can be found.
Since the discovery of the original James Fort walls by Dr.
William Kelso in 1995 Historic Jamestowne has attracted world attention
by continuing to unearth the lost remains of America's first permanent English
settlement. Last year, Archaeology magazine once again named them for one
of the Top Ten discoveries of 2015 for their landmark excavation efforts and
identification of four early burials. In 2016, they began focusing on the
excavation of the historic church of 1617 where the first elected assembly met
in a landmark step toward the founding of the United States. On Tuesday,
October 11, 2016 the Northampton Historic Preservation Society visited the
recently excavated site of the oldest successful settlement in the New World.
The morning included a guided tour by Joe Burkart with the Tidewater Virginia Historical Society and remarks from Dr. Kelso, now the Director of Jamestowne Rediscovery, about his remarkable path to unearthing the south palisade of the original fort. An exclusive guided tour of the 7500 square foot Archaearium, which houses over 4,000 artifacts, was also included. The building itself was carefully placed over the original site of the Jamestown Statehouse and the 17th-century structural features are visible through glass sections in the floor.
Following lunch, the group headed to Colonial Williamsburg to visit two connected museums, the first being the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. A guide was on hand to help navigate and answer questions regarding the special exhibit: "We Are One: Mapping America's Road from Revolution to Independence. On loan from the Boston Public Library this 90 map exhibit traces America?s story from the French and Indian War all the way to the creation of our great nation. At the second, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, a guide interpreted the "American Ship Paintings" exhibit. In the mid-19th century, ship captains and owners commissioned artists to depict their sea-going vessels in all their glory.
While the Court House and many supporting structures have been lovingly preserved over the years, it is the uncertain future of the two old jails which has left state and local historians and preservationists concerned about the two structures, and in turn, the integrity and continuity of the court green complex.
Lack of funding and threat of demolition by neglect have dominated the conversation recently as county and town officials struggle to come to some viable agreement about the future of the buildings. Northampton Historic Preservation Society remains an integral part of these conversations as an advocate of protection, stewardship, and feasible solutions.
The 1914 Jail, a four-square brick, currently sits vacant. In use until 2000, it was shut down in 2009 after the conclusion of lead and asbestos abatement. In its time, it was considered a large, modern facility and “worth a dozen of the dinky little hovels now in use as a jail.” And one which “could handle a good portion of the speak-easy crowd even if they are numerous.” The smaller jail, which sits behind the 1914 building, is a one-story brick structure and is in poor repair though it still retains many of its original architectural elements.
The annual dinner meeting for the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was held December 9th at Cheriton, Virginia. The featured guest speaker, Dick (DeCourcy) McIntosh, gave a thought provoking presentation encompassing his life and experiences on the Eastern Shore and an ongoing current public debate that impacts historical preservation: the uses and potential misuses of history. He warned that one must be careful with history and that “historic preservation” should mean preserving history, real history, as well as historical buildings.
The meeting also included the election of the new 2016 State of NHPS Officers and Board Members who are listed on the "About Us" page.
Special thanks go to: Mimosa Barn - Eyre Baldwin; Watsons Hardware; Gull Hammock; Amy B Catering AND NHPS Board & Membership
Stratton Manor was the topic of this October NHPS Lecture on the Lawn. Stratton Manor is a delightful mid-eighteenth century house, built by Benjamin Stratton and enlarged by his son. It is an outstanding example of architectural innovations in Colonial America. Karl Wagner, owner, provided an interesting and extensive presentation about the history and various renovations of this fascinating house.
In 1790, Thomas L. Savage sold the property to John Stratton who served in the U. S. Congress from 1801-1804 and was a descendant of the builders of Stratton Manor.
Over the summer of 2015, the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was busy building awareness of the valuable historic treasures found in Northampton County. Through the efforts of NHPS, the Eastville Court Green is now on Preservation Virginia's 2015 Most Endangered Site List and the A&N Electric Cooperative Magazine August 2015 issue featured an article on Pear Valley and the role of the NHPS as its caretaker.
We have launched a Facebook page and newsletter to complement our existing website and YouTube Channel TimeVirginia. The NHPS Court Green Historic District Exhibit is now a member of the Eastern Shore Museum Network, the Eastern Shore Artisan Trail, and has been included in the Tidewater Virginia Museum Trail Map. The NHPS has accomplished all this, in addition to providing tours and functions at the Eastville Court Green and Pear Valley.
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On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon remembers your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation. You will have to enter Amazon through smile.amazon.com for NHPS to receive a donation.
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society dedicated a Historic Exhibit in the 1899 Courthouse on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at the Northampton County Court Green in Eastville.
A life-size figure in Colonial attire holding the Declaration of Independence is one of the first exhibits to greet visitors as they enter the historic display room which is a partnership between Northampton County and NHPS.
During renovations of the county administration complex, Northampton County administrators designated the front room of the 1899 Courthouse to be used for the historic display. This room was formerly part of the county records vault. It retains features of its former use and includes the original interior window shutters and fireplace built in 1899 with a replica of the original mantel and the vault door.
The exhibit affords visitors the opportunity to take self-guided tours through three centuries of history on the Northampton County Court Green. This historically significant story is told through exhibits that include period pieces, artifacts, narratives, and photographs.
Exhibits in the display room have items pertaining to three buildings, the 1731 Courthouse, the Old Clerk's Office dating to the late 1700's, and Debtor's Prison, ca. 1815. An original walnut raised-panel book press and a scale model of the 1731 design of the Courthouse is also included.
Exhibits also continue down the adjoining hall from the historic display room and feature early Northampton County photographs along the walls and five exhibit cases featuring items from the NHPS collection and the Barrier Islands Center and Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society
The Northampton County Court Green is one of the earliest and most complete in Virginia and listed as a Historic District on both the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places.
Directions to Eastville
From the North: From the Maryland state line, Eastville is about 50 miles south on US Highway 13. Turn right on Business Route 13 (Courthouse Road) or Route 631 (Willow Oak Road).
From the South: From the end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Eastville is about 15 miles north on US Highway 13 (Courthouse Road). Turn left on Business Route 13 or Willow Oak Road (Route 631).
More information about the Exhibit Hours can be found under the Properties tab above.
Watch the dedication at this link of the Historic Exhibit: Dedication
In 2013, the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was granted 501 (c) (3) status. The mission of the NHPS is to preserve the historic heritage of properties primarily in Northampton County, Virginia through education, advocacy, and restoration activities.
The NHPS is dedicated to continuing its century long historic preservation mission (previously known as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Northampton Branch, and later as the Northampton Branch, Preservation Virginia).
Northampton Historic Preservation Society
P.O. Box 501
Eastville, VA 23347
email address: [email protected]