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The Benjamin Powell House

Benjamin Powell House
  • Property acquired by Benjamin Powell in 1763
  • Operated contracting ("undertaking") business at site for 20 years

Powell built notable Williamsburg landmarks

Benjamin Powell was a carpenter who became a contractor, built a couple of Williamsburg landmarks, and enjoyed the company and counsel of some of 18th-century Williamsburg's leading gentlemen.

He acquired his property at the east end of the city in 1763, and for nearly 20 years pursued from there the career of an "undertaker" – as contractors were called in those days.

Served on committee that enforced embargo on British goods

He "undertook" the repairs of the Public Gaol in 1764, construction of the steeple tower at Bruton Parish Church in 1769, and the erection of the Public Hospital in 1771. In 1774, as the Revolution approached, Powell served with Peyton Randolph, George Wythe, and other men of stature on a committee that enforced an embargo on selected British goods.

Powell sold the property in 1782. About 1814, a small office was built next door for Dr. Robert Waller.

Restored original building site of interpretations of 18th-century family life

The Benjamin Powell House, a restored original building, is now home to lively interpretations of 18th-century children and family life that feature activities from playing with marbles made of clay to learning quill-and-ink penmanship.