After the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia) took ownership of the Jamestown 17th-century tower site in 1893, its members conducted archaeology around the old church foundations and began to plan the construction of a new church in time for the 300th anniversary of the settlement. The 1907 Memorial Church was a gift from the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and was designed by Boston architects Edmund Wheelwright and Ralph Adams Cram. The church was modeled after St. Luke’s Church in Smithfield and used bricks from two old buildings in Hampton, VA. Glass panels in the floor allow visitors to see the brick foundations of the 17th-century churches, including the one in which the colonists met in 1619 for the first representative assembly in English North America. The Memorial Church is adjacent to but not directly connected to the 17th-century tower. It was officially dedicated May 13, 1908. Many plaques on the walls inside of the church commemorate important people and events of early Jamestown.
Note:The Memorial Church is currently closed to visitors because of ongoing archaeological investigations. Following completion of the excavations this fall, the Memorial Church’s interior will be updated based on the archaeological findings. The building’s layout will reflect the original footprint of the 1617 church. New digital information panels will be added to explain more about the original church as well as the significance of the first assembly. The Memorial Church will re-open in the spring of 2019.