Archive for January, 2013

Spears and Tate Reading Response

Both Mia Stratis Spears’ article about the Greek community in Williamsburg and Thaddeus W. Tate, Jr.’s article about college-town relations speak a lot about the relationship between college students and the town of Williamsburg. I found this interesting because I had no idea how these two articles would go together when I chose to do this set of readings.

Spears’ article obviously focuses more on the Greek community than “town and gown” relationships, however I found the bits about the interchange between college students and Greek establishments in town to be very interesting. College students asked one Greek restaurant owner to move his restaurant further down Duke of Gloucester street just to be nearer to campus. At one Greek restaurant, if students were not able to pay for their meal, they were still fed. The restaurant owner would write down what the students owed him in a black book and asked that they pay him back once they had graduated and found jobs. These warm interchanges between the college community and the Greek community still exist at the Greek owned delis on Richmond Road.

Aside from the relationship between the Greek community and college students, Spears’ article delves into the effect Greek establishments have had on the town throughout the years. The Greek community has been very successful in Williamsburg in terms of its local businesses. Carol Kammen says local history in the United States celebrates the successful businessman, thus this article follows in that tradition of local history. The Greek community is extolled for creating the dining and lodging establishments that would accommodate Williamsburg’s rising number of tourists throughout the twentieth century. Greek establishments also provided employment for college students

Like Spears’ article. Thaddeus Tate’s article also investigates the relationship between a specific community and the town of Williamsburg. Since 1693, William and Mary and Williamsburg have experienced many ups and downs together. I think looking at the “down” times in history is most indicative of what the true relationship between the college and the town is.  It was during hard times for the college that the town really stepped up to take care of the college students. Throughout history, various places in town have become temporary lodging for displaced members of the William and Mary community. As recently as 1983, when Jefferson dorm burned down, the community in Williamsburg really came together to help students out. Money and clothes were given to students, and a hotel was opened up for them to stay in.

While these examples of warmth show the healthy side to the town and gown relationship, Tate does not shy away from recounting tales of tension between the two communities. Carol Kammen says that many local historians try to stray away from uncomfortable bits of history. But Tate is not afraid to speak about the somewhat tense moments throughout the history of the relationship between college and town. I think this is really wonderful because it makes the history so much more dynamic and interesting. It also helps explain some of the origins of tensions that persist to this day between the town and the college. In this way, this local history is really helpful in explaining current events and becomes even more relevant to college students and Williamsburg residents today. All in all, I think both of these articles present very interesting histories of unique communities within Williamsburg.

Rowe and Ellis Reflection

African Americans in Williamsburg, 1865-1945 and The African American Community in Williamsburg (1947-1998), written by Linda Rowe and Rex M. Ellis respectively, explore a sector of society often untouched by local histories. When reading and evaluating local histories, readers must question the authors’ motivation.  Ellis answers this question in the first paragraph of his piece in claiming that, “not only is African-American history integral to an understanding of the area in general, but it is important that the black historical perspective be preserved so that future generations may learn from the challenges blacks have faced, their achievements, and the wisdom they have gained through their struggles.” Both Ellis and Rowe strive to present unbiased and well-rounded representations of the African American community in Williamsburg, Virginia. In my opinion, both succeed in their endeavors.

In her article, Rowe highlights the educational developments spurred by the actions of the African American community.  The first school built by the Williamsburg School Board was a school for African Americans. However, Rowe does not explain why this was the case.  Perhaps the town wished to establish a physical separation in education as quickly as possible.  Regardless, the African American community worked tirelessly to help fund this as well as future academic ventures.  These efforts eventually led to a state of the art high school for African Americans called Bruton Heights.  Part of the school’s appeal was that it was also used as a community center. Rowe also discusses the role of African Americans in the work force.  One picture in her article depicts white and black employees working in a shop side by side.  This photograph raises questions about how frequently this occurred. Did this tolerant behavior permeate all workspaces in Williamsburg? Certainly not. Pictures are often worth a thousand words, as the saying goes; so, I really appreciated the plethora of photographs present in both articles.

Rowe’s article lacked much description of African American life by whites.  While a history about the black population alone of Williamsburg deserves to be written, I think Rowe’s article could have been strengthened by the juxtaposition of African American and white perspectives and opinions. This additional perspective could have provided readers with additional information about how black residents of Williamsburg were viewed and treated.The article by Ellis, however, claims from the beginning to be about African-American history, so a reader knows exactly what to expect.

The most interesting aspect of Ellis’ article was the personal confession about the black condition in Williamsburg by  Rockefeller’s chauffer.  This example of local history, straight from the source, is rare and very valuable because it “[represents] one of the few assessments of the black community by a black.” I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mr. Hudson’s testimony because of its authenticity and interesting subject matter. For this reason, I preferred the Ellis article to the Rowe article. The Ellis article also provided the interesting idea that some black residents of Williamsburg yearned for the days when schools were not integrated; they felt that black teachers were more invested in the education and success of black children than were white teachers. I found this point to be extremely interesting because the articles both focused on how hard the African American community fought for equality. I had never considered this point of view until reading Ellis’ article, and it makes sense to me now.

I connected on a deeper level with Ellis’ article because of his discussion of displacement at the hands of the reconstruction of Colonial Williamsburg and its effects on the African American community.  Having focused on and grappled with the idea of place for the past week, I was able to better comprehend the pain of a group of people who were forced out of, not only their homes, but everything comfortable and familiar to them.  According to Ellis, displacement “left many African Americans wondering whether they could find new communities that provided them with the same sense of well-being, comfort, and identity that they had come to know in their original homes.”  This pain and confusion can be likened, albeit on a smaller scale, to my return to my childhood home after a semester at college.  Everything felt different.  Some of my favorite restaurants were gone, new stoplights appeared out of nowhere, roads were changed and re-routed, and the grocery store had been completely rearranged.  While this example seems trivial compared to the uprooting of an entire community and way of life, I felt a smaller version of the disorientation that a change of place can cause. I thought that this was a very effective thing to include in a local history because most people have experienced a loss of place or idea of place at some point in their lives. It is important to focus on, not only what a community of people have gained and accomplished, but also what they have lost in the process.

“The Beach”


A New Place

In our last assignment I talked about what place meant to me. I illustrated how it shaped me as a person and why I believe it is important to everyone in some way. This week our assignment called for me to do something courageous, I had to go somewhere I had never been before. As daunting of a task as this seemed to be I would like to think that I did well in my endeavors.

As I started to think about where I wanted to lose myself I decided that I wanted to go somewhere hidden in plain sight. I thought that it would be interesting to really connect our first two assignments and check out what types of bodies of water surrounded where I currently call home. Being from Southern California I tend to think of a “beach” as something with waves, warm sand, pretty girls, and lots of sunshine. So naturally when my friends native to the area began asking me if I had ever been to the beach I freaked out. All of the memories from back home began replaying in my head like a broken film of some type. I immediately thought of how I missed surfing and walking along the boardwalk. A good friend of mine said she would go with me, so after practice we met up and headed down to “the beach.”

Once we finally got on the road I found myself rambling about how excited I was to finally see something that reminded me of home. Every time I looked over at my friend she giggled more and more as if there was a big surprise. It turns out there was one…. A very big surprise indeed. When we got there my jaw hit the floor. There was no beach, no waves, no sunshine—I was bummed. However, I realized that even though it was not Southern California I still was able to call it home. It was not as exciting and fun as back home but it was still vital to the community. As we walked around the shore I saw other people enjoying a great day at “the beach.” That place served as a refuge of peace and beauty to anyone that visited and it was clearly illustrated in the faces of those that were there that day.

Once we got back in the car I noticed how much I really began to appreciate “the beach.” It was serene. I felt as though I was looking at what all of the romantic writers from way back when were writing about. I started the car and began to ask myself “why haven’t I ever been here?” Because it really is not that far out of the way and it is not hard to get to at all. Although, I must admit it was a little weird on the way out there because the road we took did not have any markings such as lanes or anything like that. Maybe I thought it would because my California instincts told me it should but then again the more and more I investigate this Williamsburg place the more and more I forget about back home. The reason I say that is because I am slowly realizing that I can call this place home, it has begun to shape me in the same fashion that California has.

Based on what we have been learning and talking about in class I have decided that place is a very lucid term. It is something that is connected to many generations of many different people. For instance, “the beach” has been walked on by Americans since the first Americans landed here on the Mayflower. Before that there were Native Americans and before them who knows who, or even what could have been walking around. What is important to remember is that these places remain, and people leave there imprints on them. The people will come and go but the place remains constant and shapes people in the same way that it always has. This idea does not go just for “the beach,” but also for the whole town of Williamsburg.

So far in this short semester I have learned two things. The first being that place truly does shape someone’s ideologies. The second, and the one I’ll elaborate on more, is that when a person branches out without fear of what may or may not happen they will find themselves wondering why they had never tried whatever it is they are doing before. It is human nature to set limits on ourselves, but people do not realize that we set limits on our geographical location as well. I can honestly say that I have set limits on my surroundings my whole life and because of this latest assignment I refuse to do so anymore. In fact the next place I plan to investigate is a chocolate shop called Mad About Chocolate right down the street from the College Apartments.

Assignment #2: A Trip to Harris Teeter

As graduation nears, I continually find myself making a mental checklist of all the places in the Williamsburg area I have yet to explore.  Thus, when given the assignment to visit a place I had never been and may be somewhat uncomfortable, I had quite a few places I could think of.  I ultimately decided to visit the Harris Teeter on Quarterpath Road.  While going to a grocery store may not sound adventurous, I always noticed the Harris Teeter when heading down Route 199 to the airport.  However, I did not realize there was an entire shopping center there since trees along Route 199 blocked my view.  Though not far from campus, the shopping center that houses Harris Teeter is little known to many William and Mary students.  Quarterpath Crossing is not on a bus line making it inconvenient to many students.  If students need to go grocery shopping, they either go to the Food Lion on Richmond Road (it is within walking distance) or Martin’s or Target, located on the Red Line.

I decided to go to the Harris Teeter in Quarterpath Crossing because I knew there would be few, if any, students there.  That made me feel somewhat uncomfortable – a requirement for the project – because I was not sure how people would react when they saw someone my age (I wore a hat that day that had my sorority letters and “College of William and Mary” on it) shopping there.  In a sense, I felt I would be “invading their zone.”  In other words, college students realize Williamsburg residents may sometime be annoyed with having to deal with college students living in their town.  By going to the Harris Teeter, I felt I would be stepping into the “college student-free zone” near Kingsmill.  While it is obviously not an actual “college student-free zone,” few students venture out there which residents of the area may appreciate.  Moreover, going to a new grocery store always makes me feel a little uncomfortable because I do not know where everything is located.  Thus, people can tell that you are not familiar with the store and probably not from the area.  I wanted to see who uses the grocery store while also investigating why the shopping center is there.

My first thought was that Quarterpath Crossing, which looks relatively new, was built to accommodate all the people living in Kingsmill.  Upon searching old newspaper articles, I found the shopping center opened in 2009.  It houses various stores and businesses in addition to Harris Teeter.  Banks, a seafood restaurant, a Subway restaurant, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, and a salon are also located in the shopping center.

When I arrived at the shopping center, I was surprised at how few cars were parked in front of the grocery store.  It was about 12:30p.m. on a Sunday. While some people go to church on Sunday, and Saturday is more of a day to run errands, I was surprised at how few cars were in the parking lot and how few people were in the store. The shopping center where I usually go on Monticello Avenue is always busy on the weekends.  Moreover, Harris Teeter appeared to be the only store besides Subway open in the shopping center.

The first impression I had while walking into Harris Teeter was just how clean and newly built the store appeared.  The inside looked much more upscale than the Food Lion and even appeared to be decorated in a more upscale fashion than Martin’s in Monticello Marketplace (where I usually shop for groceries).  When I first arrived there seemed to be no more than twenty people doing their grocery shopping in the whole store.  Most of the shoppers were couples, appearing to range in age from 35 to 70 years old, with the majority of shoppers appearing to be of retirement age.  The majority of the people shopping were dressed nicely. While I was wearing athletic clothes, most of the people appeared “put together.”  Most of the men wore jeans or khakis with button-down shirts.  Most of the women wore jeans or skirts with preppy sweaters or jackets.  Almost all of the women appeared to be wearing makeup.  The types of clothes people wore and the cars they drove led me to believe mainly middle class and upper-middle class people shop at the grocery store.

Though a chain, Harris Teeter in Quarterpath Crossing has a community feel.  People greeted one another and some shoppers clearly knew each other since they struck up conversations and asking about their families.  These observations lead me to believe Harris Teeter serves a certain geographical area, specifically Kingsmill, which is located just across Route 199. I also saw numerous cars with Kingsmill decals on them.

The location of Harris Teeter within Quarterpath Crossing makes the store not only a neighborhood grocery store for people who live in the area, it is also convenient for people driving on Route 199 to and from work.  While I went on a Sunday, a day many people have off from work, I can imagine Harris Teeter is convenient for people who commute to Newport News and Norfolk.  There is a Starbucks located inside the store and a “to go” bar where salads and warm foods can be picked up for lunch.

Despite feeling uncomfortable when I first walked in, I left Harris Teeter knowing I would feel comfortable shopping there again.  While I was the only college student in sight, people did not look at me as if I did not belong.  The shoppers and people working in the school were all friendly.  The assignment allowed me to venture outside of my comfort zone – the geographical comfort zone of being near campus and the emotional comfort zone of going to unknown places where few people like me (college students) are. The assignment has inspired me to travel to new places within the Williamsburg area so I can have a better understanding of and appreciation for the place I have been living.

Reading Response for the Chappell & Oxrieder Articles

In the article “Williamsburg Claims the Amenities of Life”, Julia W. Oxrieder is arguing that her beloved town of Williamsburg, Virginia is in fact a very active, if not progressive, town. The author is looking to debunk the persistent stereotype about Williamsburg’s “lazy and sleepy” (157) qualities, a viewpoint that has managed to stick to the town since just after the Civil War. Oxrieder knocks down the label by giving a full history of consistent progress and activity that occurred in the town from 1880-1920.

Oxrieder acknowledges that at first, the town retained a very rural but well-run aspect of small town life. Essentially, they were far from lazy and the town even boasted thirty-six prominent farmers. Williamsburg had a host of successful merchants including an African American man, Samuel Harris, and a woman, Mrs. W. H. Braithwaite, who ran an undertaking business. Oxrieder notes how the town worked diligently to recover from the destruction and loss that resulted from the Civil War. This is an important part of the argument because the destruction the South endured during and from the war, was more than crippling. I just read an article that described the methods employed by Sherman and Grant when they trampled through the South. They used, albeit reluctantly, a style of warfare that intentionally destroyed any source of sustenance for the Confederate soldiers and its citizens called, chevauchée. Essentially, this is one of the many reasons the South struggled to revive itself after the war. However, Oxrieder strongly argues that the citizens of Williamsburg worked continuously and laboriously to overcome this disadvantage.

From the completion of the C&O railroad connecting the Peninsula to the vast trading networks further west, to the reopening of the College of William & Mary by “the Seven Wise Men” (158), the group of professors that took it upon themselves to reopen and reestablish the school’s prestige, this town remained far from lazy during this forty year time period.  Williamsburg saw automobiles, electricity, sewage systems, public schools, community efforts, and telephone and telegraph lines arrive during this time era. Clearly, the community was far from lazy or backwards. Williamsburg was on the same track as the rest of the country according to Oxrieder. While it possessed some quaint qualities like chestnut and opossum hunts, it went to through the same growing pains that the rest of the U.S. experienced. It suffered ups and downs, but managed to maintain progress in light of adversity. Oxrieder doesn’t want this label of lazy or sleepy to continue to permeate the understanding of this interesting town, and she did a good job convincing me.

The Chappell article was super fascinating because I very much enjoy architecture. Chappell is the Director of Architectural Research for Colonial Williamsburg. He describes the nature of the unique flair of developer John G. Pollard. Pollard’s vision for Pollard Park and Chandler Court was focused on a distinct style of neighborhood development that retains natural and organic qualities. These two neighborhoods are special to the residents of Williamsburg and have managed to remain largely unchanged. They have been criticized by other architects for their smallness and “impractical narrow, lanes” (175) in the past.

Chappell is arguing that Pollard’s style fosters community relations better than the more modern developments that arose during the 1960s and 1970s. He suggests that developments like Pollard Park and Chandler Court offer an individuality that at once is dignified, interesting, and worth repeating. Because he is an expert of restoration, Chappell enjoys the aspect of antiquity and aesthetic of developments like Pollard’s. This romantic style allows Williamsburg to retain its charm.

Love at First Bite

Williamsburg locals and tourists alike have deemed Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que as “a Virginia tradition for over 40 years.”  My father, one such Williamsburg native and an alumnus of the College, has raved about this local gem since I was a small child.  He recalls the time when Pierce’s was just a small building with a walk-up order window.  There were a couple of picnic tables, but no indoor seating. While the restaurant and its menu have since expanded, my dad claims that the Bar-B-Que tastes just as good now as it did when he was growing up.  My grandparents still live in Williamsburg, so I spent a lot of time around the town and the campus while growing up.  However, we never went to Pierce’s because, until recently, I did not like to eat meat.  Now, each time I return to the College of William and Mary for classes, I take exit 238 off of Interstate 64, which is very close to Pierce’s.  I have always thought about testing my father’s theory that Pierce’s serves the best Bar-B-Que around, but I have never had a car on campus before this year.   I had always thought that the restaurant was far from campus, but it turns out that it is actually fairly close by car.

The packed parking lot in front of Pierce’s made me feel slightly apprehensive about the possibility of large crowds in the restaurant.  I know that, usually, hordes of patrons at a restaurant indicate great food, but I try to avoid crowded restaurants as much as possible.  When restaurants are busy, I feel the need to rush my meal so that I can give my table to someone else.  I would prefer to take my time and enjoy good food and conversation with whomever I am with.  However, I was pleased that I was able to quickly find an empty table and that there was, in fact, some breathing room in the restaurant.

Once I gathered my Bar-B-Que sandwich and found a seat, I began to observe the atmosphere and the people in the restaurant.  Pierce’s exudes a unique and fun ambiance.  The wood-paneled walls and linoleum floors are reminiscent of the 1970s, the era in which the restaurant was founded.  These walls are lined with pictures of the owners and the development of their restaurant, employees, famous customers, and magazine articles and awards.  Sounds of Oldies music and lively conversations fill the room, adding to the friendly atmosphere.  After ordering at the counter and picking up their food, customers grab plastic utensils and fill up plastic cups with the obligatory Southern tea appropriately labeled: “sweet sweet sweet. ”  These details all lend themselves to the authentic, laid-back feel of the restaurant.

Families with children occupied a majority of the tables—colored red and yellow to match the exterior of the building. Other patrons, however, looked as if they had come from a late church service.  Whether patrons were dressed in their Sunday best or in sweatpants, everyone seemed extremely comfortable in the establishment.  This led me to consider the idea that eating at Pierce’s may be a Sunday, or at least a family, tradition for many people.  While Pierce’s seems committed to loyal Williamsburg families, the restaurant actively tries to attract new clientele.  Surprisingly, since Williamsburg public transportation does not travel as far as the restaurant, I received a William and Mary student discount.  This is just another example of Pierce’s commitment and contribution to the Williamsburg community, temporary residents included.

After my trip to Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que, I found more pictures on the restaurant’s website.  These pictures added to the idea of Pierce’s as a family-run and family-oriented establishment.  They depicted parties held at the restaurant and soldiers who used Pierce’s Bar-B-Que sauce while deployed overseas.  There are also pictures of celebrities and politicians such as George Bush and Tim Kaine enjoying delicious Bar-B-Que at Pierce’s.  The restaurant has built its reputation enough to sell products in addition to its delicious menu items. While in line to order, it is impossible to miss the mugs, peanuts, and Bar-B-Que sauces bearing Pierce’s name and logo.  While the restaurant has become famous beyond the borders of Williamsburg, it is still committed to maintaining its down-home family feel rather than becoming cutting-edge or modern.

My experience at Pierce’s expanded my view of Williamsburg.  Until this Sunday afternoon, I had not ventured onto Rochambeau Drive.  Not only did I eat a delicious sandwich, but also I saw parts of Williamsburg that I did not even know existed.  This was great for me because I thought that I had seen a great amount of Williamsburg; it turns out that there is much more to see.  I am excited to continue my discovery of Williamsburg so that I can better know the community in which I live and learn.  Because I will be engaging in local history this semester, I must keep in mind that Williamsburg does not consist solely of students, professors, and my own grandparents.  I must keep an open mind, but at the same time try to understand Williamsburg to the best of my abilities.  In an article by Alessandro Portelli, the author claims that he had “[played] the ‘objective’ researcher, and was rewarded with biased data.”  I must agree with Portelli that one must first understand a community before he can expect its people to open up to him. Therefore, I can only succeed in recording local histories by actively engaging with the community and its residents and visitors and by experiencing new things that may even, at first, make me a little uneasy.

Brewing with Secrecy

After reading the Jack Edwards article about growth in Williamsburg I knew I had to check out the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. First of all, I had no idea that a brewery existed in the Williamsburg area. Second, I have been to Busch Gardens three times and I never really connected the beer conglomerate with the family oriented theme park. It may sound naive or super obvious to most people, but for some reason I thought the theme park’s namesake was spelled BUSH Gardens, and it was named so because of the heavy foliage within and around the park. (I grew up going to Kings Dominion and compared to BUSCH Gardens, Kings Dominion sits upon a giant slab of concrete). Finally, I had a romanticized vision about being able to tour the brewery, which would have been a fun way to spend Friday afternoon.

The brewery is located off of Pocahontas Trail that is also Rt. 60, and for a while it is listed on the map as York Street. At first the road to beer ran in between the railroad tracks and Colonial Williamsburg. The area displays a typical outskirts of a town vibe as on the left there isn’t too much development, and on the right there are a few industrial-esque brick buildings. It far and away lacks that neighborhood feel found within the city limits. Sporadically, Colonial Williamsburg appears through the trees on the right, and at one notable point I saw two ginormous bulls contained in that colonial style fencing that makes you wonder how they don’t escape.

After a while the road turns into motel alley as every single hotel or motel one can imagine seems to have sprung up along the trail. Their existence is obviously Colonial Williamsburg tourism related, yet it gives that essence of the “bad part of town” because they are mostly empty and many appear as forgotten buildings of the 1970s. This is definitely not tourist season. After the plethora of motels fades away, on the left, across the train tracks, is what I assume to be the poor and working-class part of town: tiny houses, poorly developed area, yards littered with junk and other belongings, and an African American man riding his bike across the train tracks. It feels very depressed.

Passing under the Humelsine Parkway, I see a heavily wooded area with small businesses and the mark of civilization—a Starbucks. Finally, to the right appears the Kingsmill housing development sign, marking the entrance. Out of curiosity, I turned into the entrance only to discover that the community is gated, which further accentuates the disparity between the classes that reside on the other side of the train tracks. I can only imagine the houses within those gates as a silver Mercedes and a sleek black Land Rover drove out of the entrance. The side trip was cut short by the gate and so I went back to the main road. The brewery materialized among the trees a few hundred feet later.

It is a simple, but substantial red brick building. It’s actually smaller than I would have thought. The entrance has large black, metal gates and the small employee parking lot was sparsely occupied. Immediately I got the sense that I was trespassing; it wasn’t inviting, and right by the employee entrance my hopes of a beer tasting were dashed as a sign professed that there would be no brewery tours. Sadness. I drove around to the visitor parking and finally I was able to smell the brew. It took a while to notice, and that was surprising because my sense of smell is unmatched according to my husband. I smelled what made me think of rice, oatmeal or breakfast. It was a pleasant odor, and the most memorable part of the entire adventure. Because I couldn’t go any further by car, I left before I was told to leave or the cops were called, which I felt might have happened if I hung around too long. I did manage sneak some pictures of the entrance.

The brewery was surprisingly depressing. It didn’t seem like it was very active, and it didn’t appear to employ a large group of people. It felt like the recession had encompassed the building and polluted the area. The Anheuser-Busch Brewery did not seem to be living up to the expectation of prosperity for the area, as was depicted in the Jack Edwards piece. I was surprised by the lack of “busyness”. I’m also surprised that they didn’t offer tours. People come from all over to visit Colonial Williamsburg or Busch Gardens and perhaps tours could further boost, or certainly add to, the tourism for the area. Budweiser is “King of the American Beers”, right? It would fit in well with folks that enjoy American history and Americana…and beer.

There’s an aura secrecy surrounding the whole operation. The only sign of life beside myself consisted of a black SUV leaving the visitor parking area, possibly demonstrating what I should do. As I’m reflecting on the feeling I wonder if there is something else going on inside besides the brewing of beer. I’m specifically thinking of Breaking Bad and the commercial laundry business that hid the high-tech meth lab underneath one of its industrial washing machines. Perhaps there is some sort of illegal activity afoot or better yet there is a connection between Camp Perry and this Anheuser-Busch brewery. That secrecy impression set my imagination afire, but I guess I’ll never really know whether or not the aforementioned exists. The most likely scenario is that they don’t have enough employees to offer a tour right now, maybe they will in the future. Nevertheless, I don’t get a sense of community or openness from this factory. Overall, the exploration of the second coming of Rockefeller (Anheuser-Busch) to Williamsburg left me yearning to return to the Williamsburg City limits. Maybe a spring or summer trip will offer a more pleasant experience.


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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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