The Yeardley House was constructed by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) prior to the 1907 Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition to provide a place for members and guests to stay while visiting Jamestown Island. Planning documents from 1905 indicate that the total initial cost of the structure was $6,000. Construction materials were to be transported by steam boats traveling from Richmond and Norfolk along the James River. The DAR presented the house to the Association of the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA, now Preservation Virginia) in October 1907, as the Tercentennial celebrations drew to a close.
By 1911, the building was the residence of an APVA caretaker of Jamestown Island, and the garden in front of the building was initiated. In 1912, the house was officially designated as the Yeardley House, named for the governor Sir George Yeardley who presided over the meeting of the first General Assembly in 1619.
The building has weathered destructive winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and has undergone many eras of change and modernization. Between 1920 and 1935, much of the structure was rebuilt, including the addition of an east-facing porch and modern electric and heating systems. By this time, the building was both a home and a reception space for the APVA. In 1953, a new wing with a kitchen was added to the building.
When the Jamestown Rediscovery Project was initiated in 1994, the Dale House supported all functions of the archaeological project for several years, including collections storage, conservation, staff offices, and exhibit space. However, the archaeological collection outgrew the small footprint of that building, and in 1999, an addition was added on to the Yeardley house. Now called the Vault, this space houses the collection excavated by Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists, and serves as office space for curatorial staff. In 2003, in an agreement between Colonial National Historical Park and Preservation Virginia, the building expanded to incorporate additional laboratory space, offices, a kitchen, bathrooms, and storage space for both Jamestown Rediscovery and National Park Service archaeological collections, reference material, and staff offices. The addition was completed in 2005, and remains the research center for the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation.
*NOTE: This building is not open to the public.