Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown, Virginia
Since the late 19th century, preservationists considered Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown, often referred to as the "historic triangle," to be "sacred shrines of national life and liberty." Years of neglect, however, left these "shrines" in near ruin, which came to symbolize the erosion of Virginia's traditional society. Preservation groups such as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) began to advocate the conservation of colonial sites that embodied the ideals of the Anglo-American experience in North America. In 1893, the APVA acquired twenty-two acres on Jamestown Island and sponsored pilgrimages to the site. This parcel included the only surviving structure from the first capital of Virginia, the church tower, circa 1647. The APVA's program of heritage preservation influenced many state legislators who endorsed tourism as a way to promote statewide economic growth.
In 1926, newly elected Virginia Governor Harry Flood Byrd established the Conservation and Development Commission (CDC) to create an economic stimulus plan for the state. Under the direction of William Carson, the CDC attempted to transform Virginia into a "recreational mecca" by developing its natural and cultural resources for tourism. By the late 1920s, Governor Byrd began to refer to the state as a "virtual museum of the founding and growth of America," proclaiming, "America is on wheels and Virginia is now awake to the dollar value of the tourist trade."
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