Colonial National Historical Park | GREEN SPRING

Green Spring

Green Spring

A few miles west of Jamestown is the land once owned by Governor William Berkeley, one of the first governors of the Virginia colony. He lived here in the mid-1600s, building a mansion in 1649. Nothing remains of the mansion today, at least not above ground. In 1795, a subsequent owner of the property tore it down and built his own home, which is no longer in existence either. At that time, the Berkeley Mansion was the oldest continuously inhabited house in America. Another man who owned the property in the 1920s had the area excavated and found the basement of the mansion, but afterwards it was reburied.

An excavation in 1954 uncovered the foundation, kitchen site, and greenhouse. Many artifacts where found, including a pottery kiln built by Berkeley, two ovens, ceramics, glassware, tiles, and bricks. As before, everything was reburied after the excavation work was completed. A plan to build a replica of the mansion never got off the ground.

In 1969, the National Park Service purchased 308 acres of approximately 2,000 once owned by Berkeley, though nothing has ever been done with it. There was talk of developing some sort of visitor attraction in time for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in 2007, but that time has come and gone.

A park Ranger told me that there is nothing to see at Green Spring, but that there is an area where you can get out and walk around. I drove all over the place but found nothing other than a driveway that had a NO TRESPASSING sign at the end of it. All you can do is drive down the public road that runs through the middle of the property and see a GREEN SPRING sign.

The site is open once a year. Actors dressed in period costume reenact life during the different time periods when the house was in use. The theme is different each year. It may also be open a few other times a year for special events. Check with the Historic Jamestown Visitor Center for more information. Other than for these events, there is no reason whatsoever to take the time to visit Green Spring.

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Last updated on April 3, 2020
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