Adam Thoroughgood House
For many years it was believed the house was built by Adam Thoroughgood himself. Today, architectural historians agree the house was built circa 1719 by Adam’s great-grandson, Argall. Argall Thoroughgood died in the midst of construction and his wife Susannah completed the work. Argall and Susannah’s son John later added the elements for which the house is known: its extensive wainscoting and paneling, as well as its dramatic turned staircase. Visit the Thoroughgood House to hear the great success story of Adam Thoroughgood, one of Virginia’s first colonists. Learn about the house Argall and Susannah Thoroughgood built and what makes it so extraordinary. See the special touches added by John Thoroughgood and tour the passage and parlor, furnished as they might have been when John lived there. Finally, follow the house in pictures up to the present and find out what—and how—we are continuing to learn about this historic treasure. The Adam Thoroughgood House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. In 2003 it was acquired by the City of Virginia Beach. It is a Save America’s Treasures site.
Backstory and Context
The Adam Thoroughgood House is a National Historic Landmark and is possibly the oldest surviving colonial home in Virginia Beach. This charming house is tucked back in a quiet neighborhood near the banks of the Lynnhaven River. It features a wonderful collection of late 17th and early 18th century English furniture and beautiful gardens which offer visitors a view of the lifestyle of a wealthy Virginia colonist. The house was named for an indentured servant who made a fortune in tobacco farming and became a symbol for upward mobility in early American society. The small brick farmhouse was built in the 1680s, which is said to have been done by one of Adam Throughgood’s grandsons and it was restored in 1957. It is now owned by the City of Virginia Beach as a Historic Site.
Adam Thoroughgood (1604–1640), an indentured servant who arrived in Virginia in 1622, became a community leader, a member of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown, and was granted a headright of 5,350 acres (21.7 km2) in 1635. Adam Thoroughgood was from King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, and the naming of many local features can be traced back to his childhood home, including the Lynnhaven River, the City of Norfolk, and Norfolk County and the City of South Norfolk (the last two of which combined to become the new City of Chesapeake in 1963).
The costumed staff offer guided tours which are conducted throughout the house. The museum also conducts an array of educational programs for children like the Life along the Chesapeake, which is an hour-long tour which gives description of the life and traditions of the Chesapeake Indians through many interactive exhibits and activities. The Indenture Adventure educates youngsters about the institution of slavery and how its abolishment has influenced the present-day world.
Admission is charged at $4 with special discounts for children and seniors. You can visit the Adam Thoroughgood House from 9 am to 5 pm, Tuesday through Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday. It is located at 1636 Parish Road in Virginia Beach. You can also call 757-460-7566 for more information.