Found 1938 Film Provides a Glimpse of the Newly Restored Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg is all about providing a glimpse back in time of life during the period of our country’s birth. An 81-year-old home movie film that was just discovered, it seems, provides us with a glimpse back of the early days of Colonial Williamsburg, as restored by Dr. William Goodwin, John D. Rockefeller, and company.

Filmed in 1938 and found in a storage locker just outside of Washington D.C., the black-and-white, 8mm film was acquired by Dallas Moore of the Forgotten Now Found website, along with a variety of other films from the same source.

The film was digitized and an edited version has just been released, showing scenes taken by someone visiting the historic city to attend a christening, taking shots of various locales including the Capitol, the Governor’s Palace, the Courthouse, the Magazine, and Bruton Parish Church. The restoration of Colonial Williamsburg, which began in the late 1920s, was still underway at the time this video was taken, the Governor’s Palace having been restored less than five years prior to its filming.

Such a glimpse of the early days of that which provides us a glimpse of the early days of our country is a rare and novel thing, indeed.

( This post has been updated to include the occasion of the video, a christening, as confirmed in the comments. )

8 Comments

  1. G. L. Sweeney

    May 22, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    Just lovely! I thoroughly enjoyed watching this film. The last ten seconds showed a toddler/baby dressed in white. Could an occasion be a christening?

  2. I have so many great memories of Colonial Williamsburg. I was christened in Bruton Parish Church my grandmother was the secretary there in the early 70’s My grandparents lived about 10 minutes away and we spent lots of time walking the old cobblestone streets

  3. Good blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing
    like yours these days. I truly appreciate people like you!
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  4. Lester Anne Sykes Waldron

    January 23, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    Growing up in Williamsburg from age 7 in 1940 I love seeing any older pictures here. I also spent 4 years in William and Mary. I have been back here now since 1993, and so much has changed. It’s no longer a little town. Still, I love living here in all of Colonial Williamsburg’s beauty. Thanks.

  5. Bettie Duncan Modys

    February 18, 2021 at 2:04 am

    Lovely to see the old home town. I don’t get back often and am always amazed at the growth that has taken place. I never dreamed I could get lost in the town I grew up in.

  6. Charles Swift

    June 26, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    We, too, remember Williamsburg back in the early 1980’s when we would vacation with our then 3 year old daughter, who is now 40! We would stay at the Governor’s Spotswood or the Cascades? behind where the Woodlands are now. The area outside of Colonial Wlliamsburg is now unrecognizable, can not believe the urban growth! Nice to see this film if to only remember what once was a vision of a quaint glimpse into the history of our nation.

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