Monday, July 2, 2007

Bacon's Castle, Virginia

Yesterday we visited Bacon's Castle, a short drive from my family's house and across the James River from Jamestowne and other early American settlements. A favorite destination for the Sunday drives of my childhood, the "Castle," constructed in 1665, represents one of my first encounters with history and doubtless played a role in my path to becoming a historian. I remember as a child hearing stories about how the house was haunted . . . for example, by the ghost of Nathaniel Bacon, leader of Bacon's Rebellion (1676). The estate is now owned by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and includes beautiful - albeit simple - gardens that are based on print and archaeological evidence. In an area full of colonial-era structures, including those at Jamestowne and Williamsburg and numerous plantation houses, Bacon's Castle is unique architecturally. The chimney's, for example, reflect the influence of Elizabethan-era styles. I don't recall the details behind its construction, but one wonders how a 1665 building ended up looking like a structure built in 1565. Today we're off to Jamestowne to see what's been done to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Virginia. (By the way, the flowers are hollyhocks, among my favorites.)

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