Colonial Williamsburg to rebuild armory with Mars’ gift

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A $4.5 million gift from Forrest E. Mars Jr. will fund the reconstruction of Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury, a Colonial-era industrial site that supported the American Revolution.

Mars, the former CEO and chairman emeritus of the famous candymaker Mars Inc., recently was elected to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s board of trustees. His donation will fund reconstruction of and create an endowment for the site.

The shop and armoury belonged to James Anderson, who was appointed public armourer in 1776, and after the war grew his small blacksmith shop into a work site that eventually employed 40 people. He added an armory, kitchen, privy, two storage buildings and a tinsmith’s shop, which will be recreated with Mars’ gift. These buildings will be built on the site of the present blacksmith’s shop in Colonial Williamsburg.

A few years ago, Mars donated $5 million to rebuild a Colonial-era coffeehouse.

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