The 30th anniversary and the planned celebration of Ford’s Colony Day is next month, here is a timely review of the origins of the community which appeared in the most recent Talk of The Colony newsletter
Early American history surrounds the area that we now call home. The establishment of the Jamestown Colony (about five miles from Ford’s Colony) was a story of hardship and a struggle for survival, but the colonists endured. Over time, they began to prosper, gain measures of wealth and expand. A display of this wealth was the striking Green Spring Plantation about four miles down the road. It appears Ford’s Colony is situated on part of the plantation and was undoubtedly used for farming.
The land was encircled by waterways and paths which carried travelers through what is today our community. Providing for travelers were taverns called “ordinaries.” Bordering our community were two of these establishments: the Six Mile Ordinary (located at Centerville and Richmond Roads) and Spencer’s Ordinary (at Centerville and Longhill Roads).
In 1778 at the Six Mile Ordinary, colonial patriots broadcast their support for American independence, which is today commemorated with a historical marker. In 1781, running battles occurred around Spencer’s Ordinary between Lafayette’s colonials and the overwhelming forces of General Cornwallis. These were the initial skirmishes leading up to the Battle of Yorktown and ultimately our country’s hard-won independence.
THE FOUNDING OF FORD’S COLONY As we move into the 20th century, the Ford’s Colony story begins. The areas bordering Longhill Road were attractive for development, but various ventures floundered. One of the earliest was Middle Plantation Country Club with over 1,400 acres. The approval of construction of Lafayette High School, along with supporting infrastructure, attracted other investors. The Williamsburg West subdivision was started, promising a golf course, homes and a country club overlooking a pond. Unfortunately, there was a series of bankruptcies and foreclosures involving these ventures.
Around 1974, the CertainTeed Corporation assigned Richard J. Ford to remove these faltering enterprises from their development activities. He accomplished this by creating the totally independent Realtec Corporation.
In 1983, after extensive litigation, the courts settled the unfinished Middle Plantation issue by accepting the Realtec offer to form a new entity called Ford’s Colony. In 1985, Realtec added the property of the struggling Williamsburg West development to the Ford’s Colony plan.
By 1987, development was underway and individual sections were opened up for sale. Eighty townhomes at The Links were added to the community in 1988. In addition, the Berkeley Manor House was planned as the first of five elegant condominiums. However, the property ultimately became the site of Marriott’s Manor Club resort, which now consists of 201 units.
By the turn of the century, the Colony continued to grow as additional land parcels were added and plans for additional recreation and social facilities were put in place. Operational control of the community was passed from Realtec to the FCHOA Board of Directors, while development activities remained with Realtec. At this point, over 2,000 lots were in place and about 1,000 homes were constructed with an annual budget approaching $3 million.
More property additions followed. In 2007, Realtec announced the development of a proposed Continuing Care Facility. Residents raised concerns about the facility and the implications of growing community costs. In response, a supplemental declaration to the Master Plan was implemented the following year to limit growth to property already approved in the revised Ford’s Colony Master Plan.
To maintain and sustain our award-winning community, our self-governance model relies on the commitment and engagement of our residents. Our Board of Directors is assisted by over 200 Ford’s Colony resident volunteers serving on 12 standing committees and associated support services committees, while our Management Agent and staff handle daily operations.
Looking forward, it is expected that our population will grow to over 6,000 residents. This growth will present new recreational and facilities requirements. It will require the creative financial administration of the FCHOA Board.
As we mark the 30th anniversary of Ford’s Colony, there’s much to look forward to. We invite you to come celebrate our community’s past and future at Ford’s Colony Day on September 9. Our FCHOA Board members look forward to seeing you, hearing what’s on your mind and discussing the future prospects for our great community.
The above article appeared in the August 2017 Talk of the Colony
Check out the full article in Talk of the Colony here!
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Ford’s Colony is an award winning multi-generational community of over 5400 residents in more than 2500 homes. It is situated on 3,200 acres in Virginia’s Historic Triangle, comprised of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. With the nearby Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean beaches to the east and the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, Ford’s Colony is surrounded by a wide range of outdoor activities, entertainment, arts and cultural venues, good shopping and great dining.
The gated community was designed and built along landscaped roads that meander in and around a landscape of ponds, wetlands, and woodlands. Ford’s Colony offers about 60 clubs and activities to suit residents of all ages who come from across the country and around the world with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and careers. Amenities include two community pools, hard and clay tennis courts, a nature trail, walking and bicycle paths, as well as the Ford’s Colony Country Club with three golf courses. Many of the residents are active volunteers, both inside the gates and with organizations across the Historic Triangle.
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This website is authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads/ Richmond VA area and his expertise helping buyers and sellers in the local real estate market.
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