History of Historic Port Royal, Inc.
Interest in the History of Port Royal dates back to at least 1931 when
the newly formed Colonial Williamsburg Foundation spent weeks photographing
and mapping the homes, gardens, outbuilding dependencies, and streetscapes
in the village. This "blueprint" of the town survives today serving as
an invaluable snapshot of Port Royal as it appeared early in the last
A movement began during the nation's Bicentennial Celebration in the
mid-1970's to form a historical group in the town. The Port Royal
Preservation Society was formed to try and preserve the remaining structures
in town. This group lasted for a few years but was never able to
effect much change in town.
Enter Laura Hayes Borsch in 1995, a resident of Port Royal who dreamed of
a restored and vibrant village on the Rappahannock. Laura, ever
full of energy and ideas, was taken away after a struggle with cancer but
not before passing the torch to Cleo Coleman, another visionary in Port
Bill Henderson moved to Port Royal in 1995 full of dreams of a Colonial
village completely restored and well maintained. With Cleo's undaunted
spirit and Bill's unbridled enthusiasm, the two spearheaded a movement in
July 1996 to form a historical society that would fulfill the dreams of
Laura Hayes Borsch and others in the area that held the same aspirations.
On July 17, 1996 Historic Port Royal, Inc. was officially formed with Cleo
Coleman as it's first President.
Many years have passed since those very humble beginnings. As of
today the organization has grown to over 200 members, has hosted two Civil
War Re-enactments, two house tours, three tavern nights, two Historic Port
Royal Days, three July 4th celebrations, two yard sales, erected historical
signage at the river and throughout town, acquired two historic properties,
reprinted "Hidden Village" the story of Port Royal, raised over $250,000,
and in many ways has helped place Port Royal "on the map." The work
has been rewarding but much work still remains. We are a town of less
than 200 citizens and our strength and success can only be continued through
support from outside the community. Would you please consider
supporting Historic Port Royal as we strive to make the village a showcase
for historic preservation.
Timeline of events