About the Town Hall & Lyceum
On June 1, 1851, 35 Port Royal Citizens agreed to subscribe 52 shares at $50 a share (a total of $2,700) for the construction of a new “Town Hall & Lyceum” behind Lot 20 on King St. Undergoing restoration, the brick two-storied structure, with cellar, still stands. All original documents pertaining to the construction of the building are still intact, and comprise the only full documentation of any structure in Port Royal. “Harkness” was the architect and Thomas D. Lumpkin of Port Royal signed the contract as the builder.
A building committee was convened to oversee the construction. The land for the building was sold to the committee by Elizabeth Gray for $75. By December 9, 1854 the Town Hall & Lyceum was completed. Many subscribers failed to pay for their shares, and so the rooms were rented to area businessmen to help make up for the loss in funding. Some of the businesses that came to the Lyceum right after it opened were: a photographer, a singing school, a magician, and George Fitzhugh’s Academy.
The next owners of the Town Hall were David Powers (who also owned Fox Tavern). He purchased the building for $1,400. It was later sold to Champe Brockenbrough Thornton, and C. B. Thornton. Champe Brockenbrough also owned Peyton for a time.
–About Courtesy of “Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia 1744 – 1981” by Ralph Emmett Fall
Is this the building on King Street that is being shored up, that has the “Historic Port Royal ‘We the People'” banner on the front? It is the only one from your ‘Walking Tour’ images that isn’t a photo that I can place. I was in Port Royal recently – and found it a fascinating town.
The very same one. I chose not to show the entire building because it’s still being worked on, however, it’s a very grand structure that had a vast number of uses over the years. Imagine the feeling of hometown pride that a person must have felt in purchasing one of the shares for the original construction. The shares weren’t cheap, so you would have needed to have a sense of posterity or legacy to do it. With the help of Historic Port Royal, we can honor that sense of mid-century hope, by restoring what others gave so much to create.
Thanks for your reply – that’s what I thought. I’m so glad that it is getting some attention, it is indeed a wonderful building! I hope that along the way you post some of the photographs from the restoration process. I’d love to see them.
I checked out your website yesterday, and I really enjoyed it! You have some good photography! This website was launched in, I think, December. It was long after the leaves had fallen off the trees, but I had the foresight to take the pictures for this website in early September. In doing so, I was able to fill the site with lush, green, photos. It turned out to be a good decision. If you would like to use any of the photos here for your website, I don’t think Historic Port Royal would mind provided you made a donation to the organization.