Saturday, January 22, 2022

A new historical perk: Mobjack Coffee Roasters offers walking tours of Slabtown

Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters offers six different walking tours in the Yorktown area. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Celeste Gucanac)

YORKTOWN — The lost community of “Slabtown” is getting some newfound appreciation.

Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters is adding a walking tour of the former community as part of its ever-growing list of available local history tours.

The locally owned and operated business began offering “Walk with a Historians” this past August. They are the only private business licensed and certified to operate tours in Colonial National Historical Park, including the battlefields and inside the historic buildings.

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“People are doing more outside in Yorktown than I’ve ever seen before,” said Celeste Gucanac, co-owner of Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters.

She added that she attributes the pandemic as one of reasons why the tours have become a new favorite in the community.

Gucanac also credits the two local residents who run the tours: J. Michael Moore, a local historian, and Maureen Wise, an American history educator. Moore and Wise use their joint passion for local history in a partnership that runs the tour company, Hampton Roads Tours.

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“Michael and Maureen actually put in the time and research to provide information not found in textbooks,” Gucanac said. “Their tours provide more context than what can be found on the signs on historical buildings.”

(WYDaily/Courtesy of Celeste Gucanac)
Mobjack Petite Café is the only business licensed and certified to operate tours in Colonial National Historical Park, on the Yorktown Battlefields and inside the Historic Buildings. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Celeste Gucanac)

And Slabtown is just the latest subject now offered during these tours.

According to the Historical Marker Database, Slabtown was a community erected to provide housing for newly freed enslaved people (also known as “Contraband”) during the Civil War.

The name of the community refers to the pine slabs that many of the early homes were built upon.

“The History of Slabtown Walking Tour” costs $10 per person.

The tours last about an hour and include groups up of to 25 people (dependent upon COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor gatherings).

Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters is located in the historic Cole Digges House at 411 Main Street at the Yorktown Riverfront. They are open seven days a week with their hours available on their website.

For more information about the Slabtown tours as well as the others that are available, visit the Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters website here.

To view a full list of available tours and touring options, visit the Mobjack Bay Coffee Roasters website.

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