Yorktown's Main Street
Historic Resource Study
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This project represents a consideration of a number of sites, areas, and structures in Yorktown which are key to the development and interpretation of the town as a fundamental part of the battlegrounds of 1781 as well as the town's role as an 18th century port and an important center of local government. It will, it is believed, allow an expansion and some modification of the park's historical base map for this area. Two of its themes are: (1) a detailed and rather comprehensive treatment of the town's principal street, Main Street, and the development that existed along it; and (2) a closer study of the British inner (main) line, that was built close about the town, along with consideration of what happened to the earthworks that were erected. There is also a study of the Civil War works of 1862 and the mark they left on Yorktown together with some consideration of what happened in the town in the several years just after Cornwallis' surrender.

It is hoped that this study will satisfy the needs expressed in the project described for Main Street (formerly noted as Resource Study Proposal H-68) and that it will, at least in large part, accommodate the project calling for data to allow revision of the historical base map for the town area (formerly noted as RSP H-20). It is believed, too, that there is sufficient historical data here for management to make sound decisions relative to the Secretary Thomas Nelson House site and ruins where Cornwallis initially established his headquarters (RSP H-39) and Windmill Point (H-40) as well as town lots No. 19 (H-44), No. 20 (H-103), and the Burcher House (Shop) and Lot 37 (H-29). Also it is hoped that there is enough data here to satisfy the needs, at least for the Part I section, of the historic structure reports on the Cox House on Lot 47 (H-67) and the Sessions House on Lot 56 (H-42).

In the pursuit of the various facets of this study the author is deeply grateful to the many who had labored earlier in the pursuit of data and analyses of many parts of the Colonial story. The considerable raw material that had been assembled over the last four decades since the establishment of the park greatly facilitated the work and hopefully the soundness of conclusions here.

In order to organize the material and put the report into good, useful typed draft form, Mrs. Frances McLawhorn of the Colonial staff worked long, hard, and cheerfully — often with material that left much to be desired. And without the valued services of Linda Wedel of the Historic Preservation Team this report would not have the finished form that it has here.

Charles E. Hatch, Jr.
Research Historian

Yorktown, Va.
August 16, 1973

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Last Updated: 22-Jan-2010