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Revolutionary City Neighborhood (1776)

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This neighborhood is at the heart of the debate over American independence in 1776. The Fifth Virginia Convention is currently meeting in the Capitol, and will soon vote on whether to propose independence to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Just down the street is the Raleigh Tavern—a hub for sharing news and political discussion, and where many of the convention delegates are staying while in town.

Between the Raleigh and the Capitol is the Dickson Store. Ten years ago, the store (then the town’s coffeehouse) was the site of one of the first protests again British taxation—the newly appointed Stamp Tax Collector had to be saved from an angry mob by then-Governor Francis Fauquier. Today Beverly Dickson is concerned about how his high-class haberdashery will be affected if the war escalates as a result of declaring independence and necessities become more important than luxury goods.

The Old Playhouse, on the far side of the Capitol, has already been affected by the upheaval and has been closed for four years. In 1774 the Continental Congress prohibited the performance of plays and shows, so it is unlikely that the theater troupe will be back soon, even though elites such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington attended many a performance in this playhouse.