A guideline for future preservation, management & interpretation of Brownsville Plantation circa 1652 Northampton County, Virginia

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Virginia Tech


This thesis establishes a guideline for the future preservation, management and interpretation of Brownsville Plantation. Brownsville Plantation is located in Northampton County on Virginia's lower Eastern Shore. Brownsville's original 1262 acre parcel of land was first patented in 1652 by English Quakers, John and Ursula Browne. At the time of this research (July, 1995 to March, 1996) the property was held in ownership by The Nature Conservancy's Virginia Coast Reserve.

The passing of significant evidence of our history to future generations, provides us with the unique opportunity to both examine and interpret our shared cultural resources. Brownsville's significance lies in the intricate weaving of the natural fabric of the site with the human cultural activities which have historically been exhibited there. The property's significance cannot be quantified as only land or only building(s), instead it is the epic of a place in which each component is inseparable from the entirety of its history.

The methodology implemented in developing this thesis includes four separate but interconnected phases of work. Each phase is founded in linking traces of human activity, as physical representations of the property's cultural heritage, and endeavors to recognize the present and future of Brownsville by acknowledging the past. The phases are: Historical Research; Inventory & Documentation; Site Analysis & Evaluation; and Treatment Selection & Recommendations. Each places the site within an historic and current context while determining stewardship strategies and priorities based on the property's retained overall integrity. As a comprehensive plan of action, this work is envisioned as an interim step in the continuum which forms the property's history. It is intended as a tool which assists in the management of change, while providing clear attitudes for future exploration and ongoing research at Brownsville Plantation.



historical preservation