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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

047-5458 Toano Commercial Historic District

Toano Commercial Historic District
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/13/2018

NRHP Listing Date 04/03/2019

NPS property number SG100003605

The Toano Commercial Historic District is locally significant under Criterion A in the areas of Commerce and Transportation and under Criterion C in the area of Architecture. The period of significance is ca. 1903-1966, and begins with the construction date of the district’s earliest contributing resource. However, the forces that shaped the district’s initial development extend back to 1881 and construction of the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad’s “Peninsula Extension,” which boosted the prosperity of Toano and its environs through the movement of goods, people, and ideas; and allowed the C&O to traverse the entire length of Virginia. Meanwhile, by improving access to northern cities, the railroad engendered a new, market oriented agriculture in James City County, centered on truck farming. This revolution created two new manufacturing operations—a barrel factory and a cannery—in Toano to facilitate the shipment of produce to urban markets. Starting ca. 1903, construction of a group of new commercial buildings, including a bank, in Toano demonstrates the vibrancy of local economic activity at the time. Although the railroad tracks and depot were relocated in 1906, today the Toano Commercial Historic District continues to reflect the railroad’s impact on the community’s physical development.


Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated April 16, 2019