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Urbanna in Middlesex County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Watling Street and Urbanna's Master Builder

Urbanna, Virginia

 

— The Museum in the Streets® —

 
Watling Street and Urbanna's Master Builder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 25, 2021
1. Watling Street and Urbanna's Master Builder Marker
Inscription.  The colonial ferry, later a one-lane bridge, and a steamboat landing paved the way over time for Watling Street to become a main avenue into town. Originally named Wadling Lane, the street in the 1880s wound from the bridge to a carpenter shop near the corner of Watling and Cross streets owned by town builder Charles H. Palmer Sr. The son of steamboat dock master Alfred Palmer, Cahrles was born in 1845 across the street from here in a colonial home that was torn down in 1907. At the age of 16, Palmer enlisted in the Confederate army. After surviving a musket shot to the jaw and spending time in Point Lookout Union prison camp, he, along with his friend Columbus Burton, went to Binghamton, New York after the war. There they learned to build houses in a Folk Victorian style with an italianate influence. After coming home in 1872, Burton went on to become dock master of Burton's Steamboat Wharf, while Palmer became the town's master builder. Palmer's architectural style can still be seen today throughout town. In 1895 he built and designed the main portion of the Urbanna Baptist Church and added the two wings in 1904. His own home, built
Watling Street and Urbanna's Master Builder Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, November 25, 2021
2. Watling Street and Urbanna's Master Builder Marker
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in 1875, still stands across from the church parking lot. Palmer also built the Bristow House in 1876 at the corner of Watling and Cross streets; and in 1877 he built the Urbanna Masonic Lodge No. 83 A.F.&A.M. building. The three-story masonic lodge stood next to Palmer's woodworking shop until the lodge was torn down in 1919. At the turn of the 20th century, there were four boarding houses on Watling Street, the Ross Hotel, Haywood's (general merchandise) Store (still standing next door to the church), a blacksmith shop/feed store, an oyster shucking house, and at the end of the street going west, away from the bridge, was the "old" Confederate Home used to house homeless Confederate veterans. It was funded by the Daughters of the Confederacy. The structure still stands today and is the second to last house at the end of Watling on the south side of the street.
 
Erected by The Museum in the Streets®. (Marker Number 3.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureCharity & Public WorkChurches & ReligionFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsIndustry & Commerce
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Roads & VehiclesWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the The Museum in the Streets®: Urbanna, Virginia series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1845.
 
Location. 37° 38.07′ N, 76° 34.399′ W. Marker is in Urbanna, Virginia, in Middlesex County. Marker is at the intersection of Watling Street (Virginia Route 1004) and Urbanna Road (Virginia Route 227), on the right when traveling west on Watling Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 Watling St, Urbanna VA 23175, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Overlook (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cross Street (about 400 feet away); Steamboat Era (about 500 feet away); Bridge Over the Creek (about 600 feet away); The Backyard Garden Was Essential (about 700 feet away); Old Tobacco Warehouse (about 700 feet away); A Hub For Commerce (about 800 feet away); Tobacco Was Money (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Urbanna.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 25, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 25 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 25, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Nov. 30, 2021