Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

099-0004 Old Custom House

Old Custom House
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 03/17/1999

NRHP Listing Date 06/11/1999

NPS property number 99000682

The Old Custom House was constructed around 1721 by Richard Ambler and is one of two known surviving Colonial storehouses in Virginia. The two-and-a-half-story building has striking brickwork laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers. Ambler used the house in his duties as customs collector of Yorktown, although it was originally constructed as a storehouse. The building also served as a doctor’s office and a school and was used by military forces in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War I. In the 1920s the Comte De Grasse Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) purchased the building. The DAR hired noted Richmond architect Duncan Lee to restore the deteriorating building. Lee, known for his work on Colonial Virginia buildings, did much to reinterpret the interior and introduced a new exterior wall and dependencies to tie the building to its site and garden.


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

Updated October 14, 2018