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Port Royal was first inhabited by the Algonquian Tribe of Native Americans in 1652, and was chartered in 1744 around Roy’s Tobacco Warehouse. The town grew into a major commerce and trade center for early American colonies.
The Civil War touched Port Royal directly in May, 1863, when elements of the 24th Michigan and 14th Brooklyn Regiments attacked the town. In April, 1865 John Wilkes Booth, infamous for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, originally sought refuge in the Brockenbrough-Peyton House on King Street, followed by his demise at the Garrett Farm. The 20th century saw a rise and fall of businesses due to changing traffic patterns from construction of two major highways: US Route 301 and Interstate 95.

Historic Port Royal, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1995, and is the official historical society of the Town of Port Royal, Virginia. We are dedicated to preserving and restoring non-privately owned structures/buildings, properties, and artifacts all while striving to keep alive the town’s legacy and rich history. We operate with a 100% volunteer staff, governed by an elected Board of Directors, and depend on public and private donations and/or grants, and fundraising for operational funding.

The structures of the Town Hall, Lyceum, Doctor’s Office, and remnants of the only female owned tobacco franchise in the American Colonies have been and continue to be our major structural/property restoration projects. A self-guided Walking Tour, with established historical markers in designated areas, has been created and is available to all who visit. In addition, we have now opened three museums (a fourth is coming) that are full of historical artifacts from Port Royal, Caroline and some surrounding areas. Our artifacts are also being documented in a nationally used museum software database – after they’ve been identified, researched, labeled, displayed and/or stored. This will further enhance the services and information we can provide in the future.

We also promote the book “Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia 1744-1981” by Ralph Emmett Fall (first published in 1982, again in 2000). ¬†Considered the definitive text on Port Royal, it is recommended for anyone who has an ancestor from Port Royal, and wants to learn about their family member’s past. ¬†Almost every family that has had residence in Port Royal is listed in the index, and if your ancestor was here, then you’ll probably find them in “Hidden Village”. A search option is available under our GIFTSHOP, publications section.

Your support of Historic Port Royal, Inc. would be greatly appreciated and will help us continue our mission of preserving and sharing our historic treasures for generations to come. You can support us by becoming a member, and/or by making a donation of time, services, and/or currency. Membership, volunteer, and donation information can be found under this website’s MEMBERSHIP section.