Governor's Palace, West Advance Building

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Governor's Palace, West Advance Building


Governor's Palace (Williamsburg, Va.)
Block 20. Building 03A.
Historic Buildings - Virginia - Williamsburg
Public Buildings - Virginia - Williamsburg
Architecture, Colonial – Virginia – Williamsburg


Exterior of the western Advance Building of the Governor's Palace, 1933.  Reconstructed between March 1932 and April 1934, the western Advance Building likely served varying functions over time.  According to architectural historian Ed Chappel (the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Shirley and Richard Roberts Director of Architectural and Archaeological  Research), the structure probably served originally as a kitchen in the Palace's early years. Based on archaeological evidence found in the western Advance Building's original eighteenth-century foundations, the hearth was found to be of a larger size, which would correspond to the functional needs of a kitchen.  Today, the location of the present-day Palace Kitchen correlates closely with the site of what may have been a later eighteenth-century kitchen outbuilding within the Palace complex.

Historical documentation also suggests, however, that the building may have been repurposed later as a guardhouse.  “In July 1730 the Governor’s House was reported as being ‘very inconvenient for want of a covered way from the offices into the House’ and ‘a Sum not exceeding one Hundred Pounds’ was appropriated ‘for Building a Covered Way from the Offices belonging to the Governor’s House into the said House.”  In 1745, historian Henry Howe apparently referred to the Palace’s Advance Buildings as “’…two small brick structures, the remains of the Palace…that on the right was the office, and the one on the left the guard house.’”   

(Sources: A. Lawrence Kocher and Thomas T. Waterman, “Governor’s Palace Advance Outbuildings: Block 20, Buildings 3B & 3C Architectural Report,” [Williamsburg, Va.: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1952], 6-7; Ed Chappel, in-person communication in Special Collections Dept., John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, 11 April 2014, Williamsburg, Va.).


Shaw, Thomas Mott



Date Created



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Rights Holder

Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Graphite on paper

Physical Dimensions

31 x 45.5 cm


Shaw, Thomas Mott, “Governor's Palace, West Advance Building,” John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed January 29, 2023,