Adam Thoroughgood House

Virginia Beach, VA
Old Princess Anne County

Sitting in the back of the Thoroughgood neighborhood of Virginia Beach is the historic Thoroughgood House, reputed to have been built by a grandson of the Adam Thoroughgood who settled on the land in 1635.  Once thought to be the oldest brick structure in Virginia, the Thoroughgood House has undergone managerial changes over the last few decades that have threatened the future of the beautiful colonial relic.  When this author first moved to Virginia Beach the structure was owned by Norfolk's Chrysler Museum and managed by the City of Norfolk.  The furnishings were a museum in themselves, with one downstairs wing furnished in period 17th century and the opposite wing furnished in period 18th century.  If one had an elementary school child, field trips to the Thoroughgood House were an annual affair.  Responsibility for the operation of the Thoroughgood House, but not actual ownership, was later transferred to the City of Virginia Beach.  Area politics then reared its ugly head, and the sheer existence of the historic structure was threatened.  The City of Virginia Beach was hesitant to allocate funds for required maintenance to a structure that they did not own.  The City of Norfolk was hesitant to allocate maintenance funds for a structure that they did not manage.  Without funding, the beautiful colonial structure was scheduled to cease operations at the end of the fiscal year.   A delicate political balancing act followed.  Organizations whose interest lie in historical preservation learned of the problem.  Negotiations began.   On October 1, 2003, with Virginia Beach still in a massive clean-up project following Hurricane Isabel, ownership of the house was transferred from the City of Norfolk to the City of Virginia Beach.  The Thoroughgood House could now look forward to its entrance into the 21st Century with a more certain future assured.




Adam Thoroughgood House

This dwelling illustrates the transition from Virginia's temporary frontier structures of the early 17th century to the more permanent gentry houses of the 18th century.  It stands on land obtained in 1636 by Adam Thoroughgood, who came to the colony as an indentured servant and gained prominence as a landowner and Burgess.  Constructed about 1680 by a relative of Thoroughgood, the exterior and part of the interior were returned to the original appearance during restoration initiated in 1937 after the Adam Thoroughgood House Foundation acquired the property.  The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966 and the Virginia Landmarks Register in 1969.



Adam Thoroughgood House

has been designated a
Registered National
Historic Landmark

under the provisions of the
Historic Sites Act of August 21, 1955
This site possess exceptional value
in commemorating and illustrating
the history of the United States

U. S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service




As one approaches the Thoroughgood House through its honor guard of stately pecan trees, it is easy to revert to the past.  An approaching 17th century traveler might have viewed the house in a similar manner.  Its brick facade would be a  welcome sight to the weary voyager.  As he approaches the neatly kept house  the smell of fresh catch from the Lynnhaven Inlet, roasting on the fire, is a delicious odor to one who has traveled far.  Would the house's mistress offer a safe haven for the night and a meal with the family?  The master of the house steps out the front door and waves a welcoming hand.  A blink of the eye and the 21st century asphalt surfaced road reminds one that the times imagined have long passed.  But for a short time, the inviting brick structure's preservation provides a time warp to a past that could otherwise never be envisioned.


04/06/2006 09:11:57 PM