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Posted on: December 17, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Historical Commission unveils commemorative plaques on Amblers House

Amblers House

On Dec. 4, the James City County Historical Commission unveiled two plaques on the historic Amblers House, located at the Jamestown Beach Event Park. The first plaque commemorates the building’s listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register on Dec. 11, 2014. The second commemorates its listing in the National Register of Historic Places on Feb. 17, 2015.

Amblers/the Coke-Watts House is a brick farmhouse in James City County and is distinguished by its architectural history. Amblers was built in 1852 in a style known as Picturesque, a design characterized by asymmetry and irregular building proportions. Amblers’ original section is the only known surviving example of a Picturesque-style dwelling on Virginia’s lower peninsula. In the 1950s, Amblers was added onto using materials similar in appearance to those of the original house but in a Colonial Revival design, then popular in Virginia, that undid the original style, resulting in symmetrical and balanced building proportions.

Today’s property, the central remnant of a large farm that operated from the late-18th century until it was subdivided in 1917, is owned by James City County and is located entirely within the Governor’s Land Archaeological District, listed in the state and national registers in 1973.

Listing a property in the state and/or national registers places no restrictions on what a property owner may do with his or her property. Designating a property to the state or national registers provides an owner the opportunity to pursue historic rehabilitation tax credit improvements to the building. Such tax credit projects must comply with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The tax credit program is voluntary, however, and not a requirement when owners work on their listed properties.

The nomination application for listing Amblers in the state and national registers was prepared by Carl Lounsbury, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and Alain Outlaw, Archaeological & Cultural Solutions, Inc., on behalf of James City County.

The James City County Historical Commission’s primary objectives are to document, commemorate, preserve and promote public interest in the history and historic legacy of the County. More information about the Historical Commission and its ongoing projects is available on the Commission’s website.

For more information, please contact the Planning Division at 757-253-6685 or

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