Tag Archives: Shaun Kenney

A Tale of Three Virginias

Source: UVa Weldon Cooper Center; statchatva.com

by Shaun Kenney

For those who have taken the opportunity to get to know the Old Dominion, one would be well served to drive the Colonial Parkway.

Built by the Rockefeller family in the 1930s, the road is designed in such a way that you could travel the length from Jamestown through Williamsburg and to Yorktown without even so much as noticing the colonial capital.

This is by design, of course. Yet it is also a way of understanding how unique Virginia is among her sister colonies turned states. Whereas New England built townships upon the rocky yet rich black soil, Virginians built farms and plantations upon cheap land, pushing further west when the soil gave out or new opportunities arose.

Townships and cities were the oddities.

For almost 400 years, this concept of Virginia was Virginia. We were an agrarian society of farms and farmlets, ranchers and miners, fishermen and merchants. True, we built a great manufacturing city in Richmond and a great port at Hampton Roads — our own Athens and Piraeus — but much like our Colonial Parkway, these major ports could go unnoticed. Continue reading