The Real Housewives of Williamsburg, Virginia?

While contemplating the idea of community in Williamsburg, I immediately found myself thinking about the various “gated communities” in the area. There are three major neighborhoods I can think of that are “gated”, Kingsmill, Governor’s Land, and Ford’s Colony. While discussing my ideas with Professor Knight and Sarah, they pointed out that there are hardly any houses in Williamsburg that aren’t associated with neighborhoods. I find this concept interesting, as as I feel it is difficult to build a strong sense of community in an area when people live in strictly defined neighborhoods.

Many of the gated communities in the area have amenities such as golf clubs, restaurants, and sports clubs that residents pay to be members of. I find myself wondering what affect these types of neighborhoods have on the idea of community in Williamsburg. Are “community centers/community activities” such as the YMCA, parks, even popular restaurants weakened by these gated communities?

I plan on researching the rise of gated communities in America, and how Williamsburg fits into these patterns. I plan on visiting the Williamsburg Realty Association to collect information concerning homeowner’s associations. I suspect that each neighborhood, especially the gated communities, have their own unique culture. It will be interesting to visit selling offices within the neighborhoods to research the marketing materials used to get people to buy the houses. I am curious  to find out if anyone has been gathering this stuff historically. How did the public relations people of Kingsmill get people to move into the neighborhood when it was built in the mid 1970s? I think it will also be interesting to study the price differences between different neighborhoods, and how much each resident must pay for the various amenities within each community.


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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