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Jamestown Settlement Visitors Center

Jamestown Settlement Visitor Center

Jamestown, Virginia

Roland McPherson also designed the full- size replica buildings that were placed inside the Jamestown Settlement Visitor Center as part of the “Early Way of Life” Display. These full- size replica buildings included the Planter’s House, Slave Quarters, and Indian Cabin. These buildings were exact replicas, with slight variations in design for handicap accessibility and fire-rating restrictions.

  • Planters House (replica 1680): Roland worked closely with Jamestown/Yorktown Foundation on the design of this full-scale house representative of a circa 1680 typical Planters House. The master carpenter from Jamestown/Yorktown Foundation and a historian from England collaborated on the layout utilizing a post and beam construction, mortise and tenon joints and scarf-lapped wood roof and siding.  The Planters House design was taken from a local planter in the Virginia area and the structure was partially duplicated. Three-fourth’s (3/4’s) of the house was built inside this Jamestown building with a mural depicting the fourth side.

  • Slave Quarters (replica 1680): The full-scale replica slave quarters includes the interior finishes that would have been found in a 1680 slave quarters, including the fire pit and the food storage pit that was built into the ground.

  • Indian Cabin (replica 1680): The replica Indian Cabin was designed to show authentic construction for the period showing the influence of the English settlers on the Native Indians in America. The Indian Cabin was constructed of poles and tree limbs used as studs, beams, girts, and purlins.  The exterior of the building, including the roof, was designed with bark siding. The bark siding was utilized by the Indians by cutting the tree bark while it was still green allowing it to dry in a flat pattern and then applying it to the exterior of the building in large sheets. Since the Indian Cabin was to be a display as part of the “Early Life of America”, the building needed to be fire retardant, so we utilized a synthetic bark that provided proper fire rating. The interior of the Indian Cabin included displays that were indicative of the time period.

  • Cracked Roof Member Repairs: In 2014, MDG was hired to investigate large cracks in main roof members that support the roof over the Visitor Center lobby.  The cracks have become unsightly, but there is also a concern for the structural integrity of the roof structure members. We will provide field investigation to look at the severity of the cracks with binoculars; study the original drawings to analyze how loads are being received; run calculations on individual members to determine the amount of stress on each member; provide a letter with recommendations; and attend a meeting at the site.