Think of Summer time in Colonial Williamsburg and you get visions of kids going to the exhibits, incredible weather, theme parks, and days of endless fun that go deep into the warm evenings. That is the vision many have of summer in this Colonial town. Now Think of Winter time in Colonial Williamsburg.
Not sure what came to your mind but I know I get pictures of snowfall, stoic red brick buildings, a cold quiet somber place, still beautiful but in a different way. Pleasant and happy do not come to mind. There is a reason. Winter often means tough weather and is a challenge to deal with it’s often harsh punishing effects.
The Harsh Colonial Winter
Winter, as a season, a condition, and a challenge have indelibly helped shaped history, even in this urban remnant of our Revolutionary period known as Williamsburg. Thus, I thought it deserved mention as part of history, if nothing more than as a grinding wheel that has challenged our settlers from the minute they experienced their first harsh North American Winter.
I saw a great article on History.org and it became clear that Winter has shaped or helped influence events from the time of the founders onward. Here are some of the interesting facts I pulled about the specter of Winter in Colonial Williamsburg and America. Here they are:
- The founding fathers, like Jefferson and Washington, mention their many dealings with the cold hard Virginia Winters in various memoirs and documents of the period
- Brutal winters almost ended the Colonization of America in the vicious winter of 1609-1610 in Jamestown in which the settlers were starving, and dying, at a rapid pace
- Winter almost wiped out the Pilgrims up North in the Winter of 1620-1621 as they were woefully unprepared with enough food, and knowledge to survive.
- Winter, among other elements, shaped the architecture of the day as homes needed to be wood or brick dwellings with a robust centralized stove to heat the edifice. The original huts were just not practical to survival(and kind of depressing).
- Not to unlike life in Europe, the shadow of an oncoming winter shaped the preparations of clothing,food, and firewood through the warmer months to survive the cold ones. In fact, this was the pattern of daily life for most since life cannot continue unless certain preparations are made to sustain life at freezing temperatures and brutal weather.
Winter Has Shaped Human History
Winter, even in modern times, has shaped human history. Wars, armies, habits and technology all conform to the will of cold air, ice, and snow. In Colonial Williamsburg, and the rest of Colonial America, it commanded respect and shaped the lives of our Nation as the Founders struggled to develop permanency in this new land.
Want To Find Out More?
Take one of our Williamsburg Walking Tours for a deep uncensored look into real Colonial History. From slavery to hauntings, we do not hold back or create a fictional view of the American experience.
Check Out Our Articles On Life As It ACTUALLY was..
Here are some other topics about real Williamsburg history
- The Real First Thanksgiving That WAS NOT in Massachusetts
- The True Colonial Christmas in Williamsburg
- The unrest of the dead and various Colonial hauntings still experienced today
Citations, Quotes & Annotations
McGrath, J. (2015) Scrub up like a mars-bound astronaut with this water-recycling shower. Available at: http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/the-shower-of-the-future-uses-90-percent-less-water/ (Accessed: 6 January 2017).