August 30, 2013
New Store Opens in Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City Today
A historic location that has not been open to the public for many years today opens as a retail shop in Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City. The William Pitt Store, located on the northwest corner of Duke of Gloucester and Botetourt Streets, was formerly known as the Davidson Shop.
“The William Pitt store is a children’s shop,” said Teresa West, director of retail stores for Colonial Williamsburg. “We offer toys, games, books, historic apparel, publications and some 21st-century products, such as stuffed animals that reflect Colonial Williamsburg’s rare breeds program.”
The Davidson Shop was originally named after one of its most famous of occupants, Robert Davidson, one-time mayor of Williamsburg, who lived and operated an apothecary on the property in 1737. The opening of the new store has now provided the opportunity to rename the shop after one of its revolutionary occupants to align it with Colonial Williamsburg’s current interpretive focus on the period of the American Revolution.
For much of the second half of the 18th century, the widow Sarah Waters owned the property and was living in the neighboring William Waters House. Between 1775 and 1778, Waters leased the store to William Pitt, the son of the “traitor” George Pitt. Unlike his father, William remained in Virginia, advertising an extensive range of material for sale from the store, including silks, ladies accessories, furniture, hardware and spices. Not un-coincidentally considering the events taking place in Williamsburg in 1776, advertisements for the store included a selection of swords and small arms “…for CASH ONLY.”
The William Pitt store is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.