Following close upon the heels of the Virginia Company’s 1607 settlement of Jamestown, a second group of English colonists put down roots in the Northern parts of what was then known as Virginia. Settling Plymouth in 1620 “for the glorie of God, and advancemente of the Christian faith, and honour of [their] king and countrie,” the Pilgrims brought with them to New England their belief in simplicity of worship and strict morality. The English Colonial architecture of New England is perhaps best seen in relation to the character of its Puritan and Separatist settlers.
With population expanding, immigrants arriving, rapid industrialization, and urbanization, it is little wonder that late-19th century Americans viewed their simpler colonial past as a Golden Age. Emerging wearily from Reconstruction, Americans patriotically celebrated their past and future at Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition. The “New England Farmer’s Home and Modern Kitchen” was a particularly popular exhibit. Inside this log cabin, women in colonial dress exhibited artifacts such as a Pilgrim’s cradle and spinning wheel, idealizing an America heroically hewn out of New England by hard-working colonists.