History of Colonial Williamsburg Design
Williamsburg, originally called Middle Plantation, was founded in 1632 as the original Jamestown settlers looked for higher -- and drier -- ground. The colony became the capital of Virginia in 1699 and was renamed Williamsburg, after England's King William III, shortly therafter. The city hosted some of the early colonies' greatest statesmen, including Patrick Henry, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.
The town fell into disrepair after the American Revolution when Virginia's capital was moved to Richmond. In the early 20th century, industrialist John D. Rockefeller Jr. set out to restore the many authentic buildings as a living history museum.
Colonial Williamsburg style combines English traditional design with the bounty and openness of the new world. Furniture largely retained its European lines, but was constructed of America's abundant oak and cherry woods instead of the European pine. Often American accents, such as eagles or acorns, found their way on furniture and accessories, creating truly American design.