Monday, December 11, 2023

Where We Live: Prime Williamsburg retail location was once home to many

During the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the 1930s and 1940s, a lot of homes were moved from their original locations to make way for progress – sometimes they were moved just down the street.

The white, two-story house at 221 North Boundary St. is no exception — it hasn’t technically been a “home” since Colonial Williamsburg rented it out to its employees in the 1990s.

Since 2007, the colonial-style house complete with formal entryway has been “home” to retail businesses.

The Master Craftsmen Shop moved to that location in 2007 and remained there until it closed in 2017.

The Sideshow, a gallery featuring a unique collection of jewelry, wall art, and other curiosities, is now occupying that location.


The house, originally located in between Market Square and Palace Green near the courthouse, was built in 1920 by local attorney B.D. Peachy. The Peachy family history in Williamsburg dates back to the early 1700s.

Records show Peachy in 1932 sold the home to Lucy and Arthur James Johnson for $2,000 with the stipulation that the home would be moved.

A bill of sale shows the Johnsons bought the lot (now 221 North Boundary St.) for $10 cash — $16.60 total, if you count taxes and fees.

After working with the phone company about removing poles and working with Williamsburg Holding Company on removing trees, the Johnsons were given the all-clear to move their house.

It supposedly took just one mule to move the house. The Johnsons lived there until 1949 and Robert McGregor would be the next owner, buying the house in 1950, followed by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1989.

For the next 18 years it was a rental property until Bob Singley, president of commercial real estate company RJS & Associates, bought it in 2006.

A lot of this interesting history comes from Burgess Collins, the daughter of Lucy and Arthur Johnson.

Collins happened to be in Colonial Williamsburg in 2008 and came across her old family home, which at the time was home to the Master Craftsmen Shop.

Singley has a letter from Collins dated July 20, 2008 where she shares the history of her family home. She wrote, “I never dreamed I would ever be able to walk through my old house. It brought back many cherished memories.”

She also noted she appreciated that the home was still well cared for and that the “changes have not destroyed its charm.”

When Singley bought the house in 2006 it was in need of a lot of repairs. He was adamant about preserving its colonial charm and worked with the city’s Architectural Review Board to make sure everything stay as original as possible.

Jenifer Raines, owner of The Sideshow, and manager Kendra Law, said they love having their gallery located in the Peachy House.

“We always say having guests into our gallery is like inviting them into our home,” Law said.

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