Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in | 4 comments

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