CDA Historic Preservation & Mission

HISTORIC PRESERVATION PROJECTS & CDA MISSION

HP_JamestownGateSquareSince its founding in 1890, the Mission of The Colonial Dames of America has included as its basic tenets:
1) To maintain its headquarters as a museum, and to maintain other restorations, for educational purposes;
2) To provide educational opportunities and scholarships;
3) To collect for preservation manuscripts, traditions, relics, and mementoes of American history;
4) To commemorate the great historical events of the thirteen original Colonies;
5) To diffuse scholarly information and create popular interest in American history.

Both the Society and the Chapters have contributed their efforts to fulfill the goals of the CDA. The following are some of the restorations and historic preservation projects undertaken by The Colonial Dames of America since its founding. The Society exists to live up to its motto, Colere Coloniarum Gloriam, to preserve the ideals of the colonies.

The Mt. Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

In 1924, the Society purchased the property that was to become the museum. Originally known as the Abigail Adams Smith House, it is located at 421 East 61st St., New York, New York. After extensive restoration, it was opened to the public in 1939, timed to coincide with the New York World’s Fair. In 1973 it was restored for the second time and added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is the eighth oldest building on the island of Manhattan.
The museum was accredited by the AAM (American Alliance of Museums) in 1983 and was reaccredited most recently in 2013.

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L’Hermoine

L’Hermione is a full-sized replica of General Lafayette’s ship, also known as the Frigate of Liberty.  Chapter IV – Paris was a major sponsor of this 21st century effort.

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Lemon Hill

This historic house was built in 1799 on the former estate of Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. From 1957-2016, Chapter II of the Colonial Dames worked to increase awareness of this unique and nationally important Federal-style mansion and to teach awareness of our nation’s heritage, particularly during the period from 1800 – 1836 in Philadelphia.

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Abner Cloud House

Abner Cloud House, Washington DC, the oldest existing structure on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, is maintained by Chapter III – Washington, DC.

[More info from the National Park Service]

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The Old Protestant Burying Ground – Rome, Italy

Chapter X-Rome researches the Americans buried between 1716 and the present at the Non-Catholic Cemetery (Old Protestant Burying Ground), Rome, Italy.

[Visit Site]

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The Mount Vernon Garden – Bath, England

The Mount Vernon Garden, American Museum at Bath, England. The garden, which commemorates George Washington, was presented by The Colonial Dames of America in 1962; in the 21st century, Chapter XI-London provided updates on the signage.

[More Information]

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The White House Restoration – Washington, D.C.

The White House Restoration, Washington DC, 1962. The Colonial Dames of America contributed three glass chandeliers (1810) and eight smoke bell lanterns (Regency) which had hung in the Governor’s Palace in Calcutta. This were placed in the hall adjacent to the Diplomatic Reception Room.

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The George Wythe House – Williamsburg, VA

The White House Restoration, Washington DC, 1962. The Colonial Dames of America contributed three glass chandeliers (1810) and eight smoke bell lanterns (Regency) which had hung in the Governor’s Palace in Calcutta. This were placed in the hall adjacent to the Diplomatic Reception Room.

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Jamestown Memorial Gates – Jamestown, Virginia

This ornately designed iron gate, built by John Williams of New York, was presented to Jamestown by The Colonial Dames of America and its various chapters in 1907. The gates were restored by Chapter XXIII-Virginia in the 21st century.

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The Washington Chapel – Valley Forge, Pa

Washington Chapel, the open air “Woodlands Pulpit” and New York Archway-Bay, Valley Forge, Pa. was contributed by The Colonial Dames of America. The Commander-in-Chief door to the cloister of the Memorial Chapel was placed by Chapter II-Philadelphia. An Italian lace chalice veil was given by Chapter IV-Paris. Other CDA contributions to the effort include Chapter II’s presentation of the “Commander in Chief” door to the cloister at the chapel.