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May 14, 2004

Norfolk Foundation Grant completes funding for historic buildings at Peyton Randolph site

A $177,500 grant from The Norfolk Foundation has completed funding for the final phase of reconstruction of the historic outbuildings at the Peyton Randolph site in Williamsburg’s Historic Area, one of the most significant 18th-century properties in America. When complete, the buildings, along with the restored home of Peyton and Betty Randolph, will be one of the most authentically reconstructed domestic environments in Williamsburg. The site will reflect the status of one of the Virginia colony’s wealthiest and most influential residents.

In addition to his long service in the colonial House of Burgesses, Peyton Randolph also served as president of the first and second Continental Congresses until his death in Philadelphia in October of 1775. Many historians believe that Randolph would have been a leading contender to be America’s first president had he not died before the colonies declared independence in 1776.

The Norfolk Foundation is the oldest community foundation in Virginia and provides grants that transform the quality of life and inspire philanthropy in southeastern Virginia. This particular grant helped the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation match a $200,000 challenge grant from an anonymous Richmond foundation. The funds will be credited toward the $500 million goal of the Campaign for Colonial Williamsburg, Colonial Williamsburg’s comprehensive fund-raising campaign.

“We are grateful to The Norfolk Foundation for its support of this work that will greatly enhance our portrayal of this important site and our understanding of the foundations of the country,” said Colin G. Campbell, president and chairman of Colonial Williamsburg. “Peyton Randolph was one of the most influential figures in the story, and the idea, of America and his home is a significant element in recounting the revolutionary period.”

Of eight outbuildings known to exist on the Peyton Randolph site during the 1750s, three remain to be reconstructed: a granary, a small storage building and a wellhead. The grant also provides funds for appropriate fencing and landscape features.

“The Norfolk Foundation is pleased to be a part of this project which will do so much to educate generations of visitors,” said Angelica Light, president of The Norfolk Foundation. “We in southeastern Virginia are fortunate to have this jewel of history so close by and appreciate that Colonial Williamsburg is both a resource to local residents and a key attraction for visitors to the region.”

Colonial Williamsburg’s historic trades craftsmen – who demonstrate the skills and practices of 18th-century carpenters, joiners, bricklayers and plasterers using 18th-century tools while they explain their work to guests – have reconstructed all outbuildings on the Peyton Randolph property.

The Randolph site, with its historic foodways 18th-century cooking program in the unusual two-story kitchen, stands in marked contrast to the new Great Hopes Plantation rural site, located between the Visitor Center and the Historic Area, where the commingled lives of poor whites, free blacks and slaves are presented.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that restores, preserves and operates the 18th-century capital of Virginia, encompassed in the 301-acre Historic Area. Gifts to Colonial Williamsburg support program presentations in Historic Area buildings, trade shops and museums, acquisition and conservation of art and artifacts, building preservation and maintenance, production of publications and audiovisual programs and the research, documentation and interpretive training fundamental to the foundation’s educational activities. Williamsburg is located 150 miles south of Washington, D.C.

For information about gift opportunities, contact Sarah Houghland, director of development services, toll-free at (888) 293-1776, via e-mail at or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281