Singleton P. Moorehead Streetscapes


Singleton P. Moorehead Streetscapes


Singleton P. Moorehead (1900 – 1964), was born in Saranac, NY, attended Harvard (BA, 1922; M. Arch, 1927), and was employed in 1928 by the Boston architectural firm of Perry, Shaw and Hepburn. In the same year, he came to Williamsburg as a member of its' architectural field office responsible for the initial restoration work in the historic area. He married Cynthia Beverley Tucker Coleman, a descendant of colonial era Williamsburg resident St. George Tucker. Staying on, Moorehead joined the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s architectural office at its creation in 1934, became director of architecture from 1944 – 48, and continued as an architectural consultant until his death.

This collection of streetscapes was created by Moorehead for the use of John D. Rockefeller Jr. They were created at a reduced scale so Rockefeller might study recommendations comfortably in his limousine. By comparing the small-scale view with what he saw through car windows, he was able to decide whether to approve funding for the work. The colored dots denote four different kinds of properties. Blue indicates additional work to be done at properties already restored or reconstructed; red signified work proposed for properties owned by the restoration; black indicated work to be done at properties owned by the restoration but subject to life tenure and green indicated work to be performed at future acquisitions.

The nine streetscapes in this collection were executed by Moorehead to accompany a February 20, 1939 report entitled: Proposed Ultimate Restoration Work” written by A. Edwin Kendrew, Foundation Architect and head of Colonial Williamsburg’s architectural staff. About these illustrations, Moorehead wrote: “I made some renderings in water color and crayon … And I did elevations of all the streets that occurred in the area where restoration or reconstruction work was or was to be done. Those were mounted on stiff cardboard mats. I think in all there were about eighteen feet of them … Those were passed to Mr. Rockefeller, and he toured the town in his car. He would go up one side of the street and down the other and follow the schedule by circles of color … He didn’t have to stand around with the wind blowing huge blueprints and stuff. He just had these simple little renderings. (They were quite attractive, even if I do say so.) He bought the proposition, and then the fun really started.”