The Kimball Theater

Kimball Theater

The small and quaint Kimball Theater here in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square did not always occupy this space, and is not a historically recreated colonial building like the rest of Colonial Williamsburg. During the Civil War, this space was the Ware house, owned by a recently widowed Mrs. Ware. In the aftermath of the Battle of Williamsburg in May 5, 1862, the once peaceful streets of Williamsburg were riddled with wounded men and corpses. The combined loss suffered by both sides exceeded 4,000. Mrs. Ware took in a wounded Confederate soldier found outside of her home and did her best to care for the man, but the man died in her house that day. She covered his body with a blanket and awaited the arrival of Union Forces. When a Union contingent arrived at Mrs. Wares home, they commandeered her house as a hospital.

The Ware home was one of 15 private residences used as a hospital in the aftermath of the Battle of Williamsburg. Mrs. Ware welcomed the men in and informed the officer that she had a dead Confederate soldier in her home. As the commanding officer inspected the body, he slowly peeled back the blanket covering the man’s face to find the mangled remains of his younger brother. The two Virginia men had joined opposing sides at the outbreak of the war. The surviving brother was shocked and heartbroken to discover that his brother was cut down in the same battle. The surviving officer was later killed in the war. To this day, two men wearing Civil War uniforms are seen wandering through the grounds that was once the former Ware house and Civil War hospital.

One appears in blueish clothing with gold trim, and other more wearing more rag tag grey clothing. The men are seen walking through solid objects like walls and vanishing into the air as they walk. Toilets in the women’s restroom flush on their own and water faucets turn on and off on their own, which has been witnessed by both tour guides and those attending the tour. At other times, staff inside will be closing and spot a man walking inside the theater from a distance. They’ll ask the man to leave, but it continues walking and vanishes. The Kimball Theater is a great example of Williamsburg’s hidden past. There’s much more to Williamsburg and its buildings than what you can see here today.