Rediscovering Thoroughgood House: Virginia Beach, VA’s Timeless Treasure

Thoroughgood House: A Historical Jewel in Virginia Beach

Nestled in Virginia Beach, VA, the Thoroughgood House is a testament to America’s rich colonial past. This architectural marvel was constructed around 1719 and has been a cornerstone of historical significance in the region.

As a prominent example of Virginia Beach’s enduring colonial residences, it was rightfully designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. It found its place in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

The house, originally known as the Adam Thoroughgood House, reflects a deep connection to the early colonial architecture of Virginia.

After undergoing significant restorations in 1923 and again in the 1950s, the Thoroughgood House opened its doors as a museum on April 29, 1957, offering a glimpse into the life and times of the colonial era.

In 2003, the City of Virginia Beach acquired the property, further cementing its commitment to preserving this historical gem.

A notable event in its recent history includes a $150,000 grant from the National Park Service’s Save America’s Treasures program in 2004, matched by the City, leading to extensive restoration work.

As of 2024, the Thoroughgood House is a significant attraction for those interested in things to do in Virginia Beach, VA, blending historical exploration with cultural enrichment.

The Historical Significance of Thoroughgood House

A Testament to Early Colonial Architecture

The Thoroughgood House’s construction, dating back to around 1719, is a prime example of early colonial architecture in Virginia.

This architectural style, known for its central-passage house design, reflects the adaptation of European building techniques to the American landscape.

The house’s enduring structure and design have made it a subject of study for architects and historians alike.

Its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1960 underscore its architectural and historical importance.

A Landmark Amidst Virginia’s Rich History

Virginia Beach’s Thoroughgood House is an architectural marvel and a beacon of the area’s rich history.

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It shares the landscape with other historic structures like the Adam Keeling House, providing a tangible connection to the past.

Collectively, these buildings offer insights into the lifestyle, culture, and building practices of the early settlers in Virginia.

The Thoroughgood House’s preservation allows visitors and residents to step back in time and experience the early days of American colonial history.

A Journey Through Time

Over the centuries, Thoroughgood House has witnessed numerous historical events and changes.

Its walls have stood through the evolution of Virginia Beach from a colonial settlement to a bustling modern city.

The house has silently observed the region’s changing political, social, and cultural landscapes.

This enduring presence makes it not just a building but a chronicle of the American story, offering a unique perspective on the nation’s past.

Adam Thoroughgood – The Man Behind the Name

From Indentured Servant to Community Leader

Adam Thoroughgood, whose name the house bears, was an indentured servant who arrived in Virginia in 1622.

His journey from servitude to becoming a prominent community leader is a remarkable tale of resilience and ambition.

Thoroughgood became a member of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown, showcasing his significant role in the early governance of the colony.

His life story is integral to understanding early colonial Virginia’s social dynamics and opportunities.

A Legacy in Naming

Thoroughgood’s influence extended beyond his immediate community. He is credited with naming several local features, drawing inspiration from his childhood home in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England.

This includes the Lynnhaven River, the City of Norfolk, and Norfolk County, which later merged with the City of South Norfolk to form the new City of Chesapeake in 1963.

These names, still in use today, are a testament to Thoroughgood’s lasting impact on the region.

The Thoroughgood Name in Virginia Beach

The legacy of Adam Thoroughgood is deeply woven into the fabric of Virginia Beach and its surroundings.

His contributions to the area’s development and his role in its early history are pivotal. As a physical representation of his legacy, the Thoroughgood House serves as a reminder of his life and times.

It stands as a symbol of the early settlers’ dreams, aspirations, and struggles, making Adam Thoroughgood an enduring figure in the history of Virginia Beach.

Restoration and Preservation Efforts

Early Twentieth Century Restorations

The Thoroughgood House underwent its first major restoration in 1923, marking a significant effort to preserve its historical integrity.

This restoration was crucial in maintaining the house’s original structure and design, ensuring it remained a true representation of early colonial architecture.

A subsequent restoration occurred in the 1950s, further solidifying the house’s status as a historical landmark.

These restorations were pivotal in preserving the house for future generations, allowing it to be a window into America’s colonial past.

The 2004 Save America’s Treasures Grant

In 2004, the Thoroughgood House significantly boosted its preservation efforts with a $150,000 grant from the National Park Service’s prestigious Save America’s Treasures program.

This grant, matched by the City of Virginia Beach, facilitated extensive restoration work. The project focused on maintaining the house’s historical accuracy while ensuring its structural integrity.

This restoration was not just about repairing and maintaining the building; it was about preserving American history.

Challenges and Triumphs in Preservation

The restoration process, while necessary, was challenging. It took longer and cost more than initially expected, but the results were worth the effort.

The house reopened in May 2011, showcasing the successful preservation of its historical and architectural essence.

This restoration stands as a testament to the dedication and commitment of those involved in preserving the Thoroughgood House, ensuring its continued role as a cultural and historical landmark.

Thoroughgood House as a Cultural Beacon

A Museum of Colonial Life

Since opening as a museum in 1957, the Thoroughgood House has been an educational cornerstone for Virginia Beach.

It offers visitors an immersive experience of colonial life, with exhibits and tours that bring the past to life.

The museum educates visitors about the house’s history and the broader context of life in colonial America. It is a vital educational resource, enriching the community’s understanding of their heritage.

Thoroughgood House Arch
Thoroughgood House Arch” by Rlevse is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hosting Cultural and Historical Events

The Thoroughgood House has become a hub for cultural and historical events in Virginia Beach. From historical reenactments to educational workshops, the house hosts various events that engage the community and visitors.

These events entertain and educate, providing insights into the region’s historical significance and the house itself.

The Thoroughgood House has thus become a focal point for cultural engagement in the area.

Impact on Local Cultural Awareness

The Thoroughgood House in Virginia Beach has profoundly impacted local cultural and historical awareness. It is a constant reminder of the region’s rich history and heritage.

The house’s role as a museum and cultural center has fostered a deeper appreciation and understanding of the past among residents and visitors.

It stands as a symbol of the area’s commitment to preserving and celebrating its historical roots.

Media Spotlight

The Thoroughgood House has captured the attention of various media outlets, highlighting its historical significance and the efforts made to preserve it.

Local newspapers and online platforms have featured articles and stories about the house, its history, and the restoration efforts.

These media features have played a crucial role in raising public awareness and appreciation of the house, further solidifying its status as a historical landmark.

Paranormal Tours and Public Fascination

Adding to its allure, the Thoroughgood House has been the site of paranormal tours, particularly around Halloween.

These tours, titled ‘Ghosts of Thoroughgood Past,’ have become popular, drawing crowds intrigued by the possibility of experiencing the supernatural.

These events entertain and offer a unique way to engage with the house’s history, albeit through a more unconventional lens.

Influence on Local Art and Literature

The Thoroughgood House has also made its mark on local art and literature, inspiring artists and writers with its rich history and architectural beauty.

It has become a subject in local artworks, paintings, and literary works, showcasing the house’s influence beyond history and into the creative arts.

This cultural impact underscores the house’s role as a source of inspiration and a beacon of creativity in the Virginia Beach community.

Reflecting on Thoroughgood House’s Legacy

A Symbol of American Heritage

As we reflect on the journey of the Thoroughgood House, it stands out as a symbol of American heritage and history.

This house is not just a structure of bricks and mortar; it embodies the story of early American settlers, their struggles, achievements, and contributions to the nation’s history.

The Thoroughgood House has withstood the test of time, offering us a window into the past and a reminder of the roots from which modern America has grown.

The House’s Role in Education and Culture

The Thoroughgood House’s transformation into a museum and cultural hub has significantly contributed to the educational landscape of Virginia Beach.

It serves as a vital resource for learning about colonial history, architecture, and the evolution of American society.

The house’s role in hosting various cultural events and educational programs has enriched the community, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of our collective past.

Looking Ahead

As we look to the future, the Thoroughgood House is poised to continue its role as a guardian of history and a beacon of cultural enrichment.

Its ongoing preservation and the introduction of new, engaging programs will ensure that it remains a relevant and cherished landmark.

With its rich history and enduring presence, the Thoroughgood House will continue to inspire and educate future generations, maintaining its place as a treasured jewel in the heart of Virginia Beach.

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