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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

137-5027 Merchants Square and Resort Historic District

Merchants Square and Resort Historic District
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/07/2005

NRHP Listing Date 05/03/2006

NPS property number 06000365

John D. Rockefeller, Jr.—the visionary and financial force in the creation of Colonial Williamsburg—supported the planning and building of the commercial properties contained within the Merchants Square and Resort Historic District. Rockefeller envisioned Merchants Square as a retail and hospitality service area for visitors to Colonial Williamsburg, which was located adjacent to it. Merchants Square also served as a new location for many of the downtown stores and offices that were moved out of the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area as a consequence of its restoration. The district’s period of significance spans from 1927, when Rockefeller and his architects began work on Merchants Square, to 1956, just four years prior to Rockefeller’s death. Many of the district’s buildings, such as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, Craft House, and Williamsburg Lodge, are exemplars of the Colonial Revival style and were designed by architects of local and national renown who had to work out the problem of creating new buildings in historic community contexts that could serve modern uses and enterprises. The square’s landscaping softened the impact of automobiles by relying on landscaped parking areas and limited vehicular access. As a result, Merchants Square is a picturesque assemblage of structures designed to enhance a visitor’s experience in Colonial Williamsburg.


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

Updated August 27, 2018