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Virginia Department of Historic Resources

284-0047 Port Royal Historic District

Port Royal Historic District
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 12/02/1969

NRHP Listing Date 02/16/1970

NRHP Reference Number 70000786

This tiny Rappahannock River community was a thriving tobacco port during colonial times. Named for Thomas Roy’s tobacco warehouse, the town was established in 1744. It prospered through the early 19th century but declined with the advent of the railroads. Thus bypassed by progress, Port Royal remains almost entirely within its original boundaries and preserves the appearance of an early Tidewater river town. Lining its several grid-plan streets are some thirty 18th- and early 19th-century buildings, including the unusual mid-19th-century Greco-Gothic St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and its colonial rectory. The numerous vacant lots are likely rich with the archaeological evidence of vanished buildings. Prominent residents include the 18th-century teacher/clergyman Jonathan Boucher; George Fitzhugh, author and prophet of the industrialized South; the Confederate nurse Capt. Sally Tompkins (who lived at Riverview); and 20th-century architectural historian Thomas T. Waterman. The Port Royal Historic District was expanded in 2020.

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

Updated September 17, 2020