Willis Wharf in Northampton County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Old Willis Wharf Storehouse
This historic structure is one of the few remaining old-time storehouses on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
The front part of the building that faces the waterfront dates to the 1840s. It replaced a store that burned in 1837, along with a controversial shipyard. A second floor was added in the early 1900s that included a theater/meeting hall.
Willis Wharf was known as Downings Wharf until 1880. The business was run by the Willis and related Johnson families from 1854 until 1963.
At the beginning of the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were recruited at this site. Later, during the Union occupation, Yankee soldiers searched the area for supplies being smuggled to the South by local blockade runners.
Plans for resorts on the Barrier Islands were formulated by patrons of the store. President Grover Cleveland departed for his vacations at the prestigious Broadwater Club on Hog Island from the Willis Wharf waterfront.
Known as Johnson's Store to local residents, the business served the community, watermen and the Coast Guard. The Post Office was located here.
By the 1980s, the store was converted into a restaurant.
Location. 37° 30.918′ N, 75° 48.395′ W. Marker is in Willis Wharf, Virginia, in Touch for map. Marker is mounted right of door at the northeast corner of the building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4456 Willis Wharf Road, Willis Wharf VA 23486, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Accomac County / Northampton County (approx. 1.9 miles away); Occahannock (approx. 1.9 miles away); Occohannock Indians (approx. 2˝ miles away); Peter Jacob Carter (approx. 5.1 miles away); Three Northampton Landmarks (approx. 7.6 miles away); “The Bear and the Cub” (approx. 8.1 miles away); Oak Grove Methodist Church (approx. 8.1 miles away); a different marker also named “The Bear and the Cub” (approx. 8.3 miles away).
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 2, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 28, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 67 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 1, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.