Urbanna is full of special places. Seven buildings around town have been in continuous use since the colonial period. Four of them are on the National Register of Historic Places.
James Mills Scottish Factor Store (also known as the Old Tobacco Warehouse), which now serves as the town’s Visitor’s Center, is where planters exchanged tobacco for immediate cash and credit to purchase imported goods for sale. Next door is the Gressitt House, where Urbanna’s Harbormaster once lived. Across the street is Little Sandwich, believed to have been the port town’s Customs House.
Up the hill you’ll find Middlesex County’s original courthouse. It’s one of only 11 colonial courthouses still standing in Virginia today. The handsome Georgian mansion next door to the Post Office is Lansdowne, home of Arthur Lee, one of the storied Lees of Virginia. Along with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane, Lee represented the Continental Congress at France’s Court of Versailles.
Colonial travelers spent the night at The Tavern on Prince George Street for five pounds of tobacco or six pence. Legend has it that Patrick Henry once addressed townspeople from its steps. The clapboard Wormeley-Lee-Montague Cottage is believed to be the oldest surviving house in Urbanna.
On either side of town are two National Historic Register colonial plantations: Ralph Wormeley’s Rosegill and Hewick. Christopher Robinson, who built Hewick in 1678, was a member of the Governor’s Council, Secretary of State of the colony and an original trustee of the College of William & Mary. Wormeley and Robinson were among the most influential men in colonial Virginia.
Other very special places can be found all around the Town. Cottage Row, a collection of quaint two story cottages built for supervisors of Urbanna Manufacturing Company are located on Taylor Avenue. In the downtown area you will find Bristow’s Store, which first open its doors in 1876. Right down the street is Marshall’s Drug Store where you can sit at the old fashioned soda fountain, right out of the 1950’s. Not far from the drug store is Haywood’s Variety Store. Built in 1875, merchants in this location have operated under the name Haywood’s Store since 1911.
These are but a few of the special places you will find exploring Urbanna. Come visit and find your own special places.