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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Old Church: 1905

The Old Church: 1905

Circa 1905. "Old church at Jamestown, Virginia." Please, no pilfering. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Love this photo

With the crumbling brick church, barbed wire fence, fog rolling in -- it's a great photo!

Special meaning

Some of my ancestors came to Jamestown in 1635. They must have worshiped in this church.

Churches in chains?

I understand why the fences are around this important historical site. Yet I find the image of a church in a fence like this to be odd and provocative. I am thinking of assembling a series of photographs of churches literally or at least visually constrained, fenced in, or enclosed by their environments. It's a very poignant image, at least to me.

A beautiful photograph, too, with the church, fences, and trees leading us off into the mist of the James River. Very expressive.

Historic Jamestown

The original Jamestown Fort would be in this picture, too except of course that they didn't know where it had been at the time. However, between the pier in the background and the church lies the site of the first permanent English Colony in the new world, home to John Smith, John Rolfe, Lord De La Ware, Rebecca Rolfe (nee Pocahontas), etc. In this spot (actually, in the spot that the shed stands, exactly), the first meeting of the House of Burgesses occurred, the first democratic government in the new world, and the foundation and ancestor of our own government. Predates those upstarts at Plymouth Rock the Northerners go on about by 15 years.

Quite an important feat for such a little building.

No Title

My ancestors were Jamestown founders. I imagine some of them worshiped here. I wonder if it is still there. Anyone know? (apparently it is, according to Google)

Anyone know what the signs say. I can't read any of them. (thanks!)

"This 1639 church tower was one of the few remnants of the Jamestown Settlement visible in the 1890s, when the picture was taken"


Interesting that it was owned by the APVA back then; they still own the property today.

That's what the site looked like in 2008; the church is center of the frame. It's since been reconstructed around what remained of the tower.

Very Historical Pile of Bricks

The first representative assembly in the New World convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly met in response to orders from the Virginia Company "to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia" which would provide "just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting."


This tower dates to the 17th century and still stands today (some of it anyway). Here's a link (read under "The Fourth Church"):

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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