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April 12, 2003

Colonial Williamsburg Receives Approval for Expanded Historic Area

With the unanimous (4-0) approval Thursday by the Williamsburg City Council, Colonial Williamsburg received the final approval necessary on a rezoning request that expands the foundation’s Historic Area by nearly 75 percent – from 173 acres to 301 acres -- ensuring the long-term aesthetic integrity of the Historic Area and its immediate environs. The additional 128 acres is comprised of four parcels, the bulk of which is a 120-acre area that includes the historic Bassett Hall property, the former Williamsburg home of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller.

Colonial Williamsburg Director of Architectural Research and internationally-recognized architectural historian Ed Chappell was one of the foundation’s leading proponents of the zoning change. “The expansion will protect yet more historical and cultural resources from potential development in the future,” Chappell said. “It is one of the most important things Colonial Williamsburg can do to protect the Historic Area and it is a great service to future generations
of Americans.”

Colonial Williamsburg President and Chief Executive Officer Colin Campbell commended members of the City Council for their support of the foundation and their long-range vision. “Expansion of the Historic Area is vital to our mission of preserving and protecting the historic cultural assets of Williamsburg,” Campbell said. “This is a major step forward for Colonial Williamsburg and recognizes the fact that the future of the Historic Area is intertwined with the future of the entire Williamsburg community.”

The four parcels of land added to the Historic Area by City Council’s action include:

  • 2.6 acres east of Nassau Street near Court Street,
  • 1 acre of vacant land between the Williamsburg Inn parking lot and Providence Hall Lane,
  • 4 acres in the block bounded by Henry, Prince George, Nassau and Scotland Streets, and
  • 120 acres comprising the Bassett Hall property, the York Street pasture and the Coke-Garrett pasture.

    The foundation has no immediate plans for actively utilizing the expanded acreage and intends to retain the bulk of the property as green space.

    Known worldwide as the nation’s largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg is celebrating its 75th Anniversary through 2002. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a not-for-profit educational institution that operates the restored 18th-century capital of colonial Virginia. For more information or reservations, call toll-free (800) HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Jim Bradley
    (757) 220-7281

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