As Jamestown expanded beyond the fort, the Virginia Company sent William Claiborne to survey lots in New Towne. There Ralph Hamor patented an acre and a half lot in 1624. Hamor's deed made it clear that at least three streets already existed - "Backstreete," "the highway along the river," and a connecting street. His neighbors along Backstreete included William Peirce, Dr. John Pott, Governor Sir Francis Wyatt, and future governor John Harvey.
Backstreete served as Jamestown's main street throughout the 17th century. The church anchored the street to the west, and a cluster of homes owned by Virginia's ruling gentry to the east. Building incentives encouraged prominent citizens like Richard Kemp, William Sherwood, Henry Hartwell, and William May to build fine brick homes along Backstreete.
Even when Williamsburg became Virginia's new capital, Backstreete remained the best location in Jamestown. In the 1750s, Richard Ambler built a mansion, now in ruins nearby, as a centerpiece of his plantation.