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flag  History of Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Journey back in time to Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Visit Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Norfolk, Virginia, USA - St. Pauls Episcopal Church  (Built 1739)

Norfolk, Virginia

Norfolk has a rich history dating back to 1682.

Norfolk is home to Maersk Line, Limited, which manages the world's largest fleet of US-flag vessels.

Norfolk is home to Fort Norfolk, one of the last remaining forts authorized by President George Washington.

The Atlantic headquarters of NATO is located in Norfolk. 50states.com


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Postcards and Memories of Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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There is MUCH more to discover about Norfolk, Virginia, USA. Read on!

Norfolk Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

St. Paul's Episcopal Church 
(Built 1739)
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church
(Built 1739)
Ocean View, near Norfolk, Va. Showing Casino Grounds and Leap the Dips.
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Ocean View, near Norfolk, Va. Showing Casino Grounds and Leap the Dips.
Atlantic Hotel, 1907
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Atlantic Hotel, 1907
Picking Strawberries, 1907
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Picking Strawberries, 1907
View of Norfolk from National Bank of Commerce, 1907
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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View of Norfolk from National Bank of Commerce, 1907
Water Front View, 1907
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Water Front View, 1907
Cape Henry Light Houses, Old and New
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Cape Henry Light Houses, Old and New
Hotel Algonquin, 1909
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Hotel Algonquin, 1909
View of Main St.
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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View of Main St.
Naval Hospital
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Naval Hospital
Hospital St. Vincent de Paul
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Hospital St. Vincent de Paul
Citizens Bank
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Citizens Bank
Bank of Commerce Building, 1911
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Bank of Commerce Building, 1911
Norfolk Academy
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Norfolk Academy
Sarah Leigh Hospital
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Sarah Leigh Hospital
Pembroke Avenue, Ghent Ward
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Pembroke Avenue, Ghent Ward
Torpedo Boats at Navy Yard
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Torpedo Boats at Navy Yard
Granby Street, Looking South, Norfolk, Va.
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Granby Street, Looking South, Norfolk, Va.
Berkley Bridge
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Berkley Bridge
U.S. Custom House
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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U.S. Custom House
Busy Granby Street
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Busy Granby Street
Main Street, looking West
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Main Street, looking West
Royster Building and Monticello Hotel
City Hall Av. & Granby St.
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Royster Building and Monticello Hotel
City Hall Av. & Granby St.
Tom Thumb Golf Course at Ocean View
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Tom Thumb Golf Course at Ocean View
Blowing Colors, U.S. Training Station
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Blowing Colors, U.S. Training Station
Hotel Southland
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Hotel Southland
Hotel Fairfax, Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Hotel Fairfax, Norfolk, Virginia
City Hall
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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City Hall
Norfolk General Hospital, Raleigh and Colley Avenues
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Norfolk General Hospital, Raleigh and Colley Avenues
Christ Church (Episcopal) A Reproduction of One of England's Famous Churches
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Christ Church (Episcopal) A Reproduction of One of England's Famous Churches
Court House
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Court House
St. Mary's Catholic Church
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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St. Mary's Catholic Church
U.S. Marine Hospital
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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U.S. Marine Hospital
New Greyhound Bus Terminal and Restaurant
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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New Greyhound Bus Terminal and Restaurant
Norfolk's New Auditorium and Recreation Center
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Norfolk's New Auditorium and Recreation Center
Burroughs' Drive-In Restaurant
4125 Granby Street
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
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Burroughs' Drive-In Restaurant
4125 Granby Street
Flower Beds and Conservatory, City Park, 1954
Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Flower Beds and Conservatory, City Park, 1954

Discover Norfolk: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1749 - Storm alters Virginia shoreline
A hurricane destroys Fort George, site of present Fort Monroe, Va., and creates Willoughby Spit in Norfolk. According to one record, "A sand spit of 800 acres was washed up.

Hurricane timeline: 1495 to 1800


www.sun-sentinel.com
Sun Sentinel
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1854 - Norfolk
Norfolk, a city, and port of entry of Norfolk county, Virginia, is situated on the right or N. bank of Elizabeth river, 8 miles from Hampton Roads, 32 miles from the sea, 160 miles by water or 106 miles by land S. E. from Richmond. Lat. 36° 52' N. Lon., 76° 19' W. The river, which is seven-eighths of a mile wide, separates it from Portsmouth. Next to Richmond, Norfolk is the most populous city of Virginia. It has more foreign commerce than any other place in the state, and together with Portsmouth is the most important naval station in the Union. The harbor is large, safe, and easily accessible, admitting vessels of the largest class to come to the wharves. The tonnage of this port in 1851 was 23,661. The Bite of the city is almost a dead level; the plan is somewhat irregular ; the streets are wide, mostly well built with brick or stone houses, and lighted with gas. The most conspicuous public buildings are the City Hall, which has a granite front, a cupola 110 feet high, and a... Read MORE...

1861 - April 20 - Battle of Norfolk, VA

historyorb.com
1868 - Two large ships are loading at Norfolk, Va., for Liverpool, being the first instance of direct trade since the war.


St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
April 18, 1868


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1888 - On the 26th the peanut trust, with headquarters at Norfolk, Va., and controlling ninety per cent of the country's product, was dissolved.


St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
November 3, 1888
1889 - A rain-storm on the 6th at Norfolk, Va., submerged the lower portion of the city, causing a loss of $500,000 to business men.


St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
April 13, 1889
1892 - December 26-28 - An Atlantic coast storm produced a record 18.6 inches of snow at Norfolk, VA, including 17.7 inches in 24 hours.

The Weather Channel
1895 - Norfolk
Norfolk, a city and port of entry of Norfolk co., Va., is situated on the right or N. bank of Elizabeth River, 8 miles from Hampton Roads, 32 miles from the sea, 160 miles by water or 106 miles by land S.E. of Richmond. Lat. 36° 51' N.; lon. 76°19'W. The river, which is seven eighths of a mile wide, separates it from Portsmouth. Next to Richmond, Norfolk is the most populous city of Virginia, and together with Portsmouth is the most important naval station in the Union. The harbor is large, safe, and easily accessible, admitting vessels of the largest class. The site of the city is level; the streets are wide and mostly well built with brick or stone houses. The most conspicuous public buildings are the city hall, which has a granite front, a cupola 110 feet high, and a portico of six Tuscan columns; the Norfolk Military Academy, a Doric structure, with a portico of six columns at each end; Masonic Hall; the Young Men's Christian Association building, one of the finest in the South;... Read MORE...

1902 - NORFOLK'S DISASTROUS FIRE - Virginia Town Suffered $500,000 Loss in Destruction of Main Hotel and Business Block
NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 31 — The Atlantic Hotel, the Columbia Office Building, which adjoined the hotel, the Albemarle Flats and a block of stores in the centre of the city were destroyed early this morning by the most destructive fire that Norfolk has had in thirty years.

The damage is estimated at $500,000. The fire had its origin in the Columbia Building, a six-story structure, and was discovered at 1:55 o'clock this morning. Shortly afterward 1,000 gallons of whisky stored in the building exploded, tearing out the front wall, and fifteen minutes later the north wall, which was over seventy-five feet high, fell in, annihilating the home of the fashionable Virginia Club, adjoining on the north.

It was evident early that the Atlantic Hotel was doomed. About three hundred guests and employees in the hotel were aroused, and, so far as is known, all escaped. J. C. Ready of Brooklyn, however, had a narrow escape. The flames next spread to the five-story Albemarle apartment house, and... Read MORE...

1904 - FIRE HOSE LASHES CROWD
Nozzle Slipped from Man's Grasp, Injuring Several.
Moved Like Huge Serpent, Striking Persons on Head and Breaking Kenneth H. Gayle's Leg.
Special to The Washington Post.

Norfolk, Va., Aug. 20 During the test of a fire engine in Portsmouth tonight Kenneth H. Gayle was severely injured, and the engine, which had just arrived from the factory, was severely disabled. Shortly after 6 o'clock tonight, when the test began, the nozzle slipped from the grasp of the man directing the hose and threw hundreds of gallons of water into a crowd of spectators. Edward Broughton was struck on the head by the nozzle, and Edward Alexander was knocked to the ground and severely injured.

Mr. Gayle was conversing with Chief Murden, of the Portsmouth fire department, and before any one could go to the assistance of the unfortunate man the line of hose, which was wildly sweeping the street with its serpentine coils, would around the body fo the prostrate man. Mr. Gayle was quickly extricated from his... Read MORE...

1905 - NUMBER OF DEAD MAY BE NEAR A HUNDRED. Twelve Bodies Recovered and 75 or 80 Persons Missing in Virginia Wreck.
Norfolk, Va., Aug 18 - So far only twelve known dead have been taken from the wreck of the Atlantic Coast Line railway's Kingston and Greenville, N. C., excursion train which went through an open draw yesterday, though there are some eighty of the colored excursionists yet missing and the probabilities are that the bodies of many of those will be found in the bottom of the river after all dragging has been completed.

A wrecking company raised the two submerged cars but as they did so the ends fell out of the cars and what dead were in the car are now at the bottom of the river with the debris from the interior of the car. The river is now being dragged an it is expected a number of bodies will be recovered soon. The latest victims to be found are an unknown colored man and an unknown colored woman, it having been impossible up to this time to identify either. These bodies were taken from the water this morning.

The only white persons known to be dead up to this time are W. E.... Read MORE...

1906
Norfolk, an independent city and principal seaport of Virginia, is situated on the right or N. bank of the Elizabeth River, opposite Portsmouth, 3 miles from Hampton Roads and 86 miles SE. of Richmond. Lat. 36° 51 N. ; Lon. 76° 19' W. It is on the Norfolk and Western, the Chesapeake and Ohio and other railroads, and has regular steam ship communication with European and American ports. Next to Richmond, Norfolk is the most populous city of Virginia, and together with Portsmouth is the most important naval station in the Union. (See Portsmouth). The harbor is large, safe, and easily accessible, admitting vessels of the largest class. The city is irregularly laid out and presents many quaint features. There are few public buildings of note (city-hall, custom-house, cotton exchange). Among the various educational institutions are the Norfolk Mission College and the St. Joseph's Colored School. Nor folk has a large shipping trade in cotton, grain, early fruits and vegetables, fish, game... Read MORE...

1907 - LUMBER PILES AND OIL TANKS SWEPT BY FIRE
Spark From a Locomotive Started Disastrous Conflagration
Burning Oil Covers Acres of Property

NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 20. - The most spectacular fire in the history of the city occurred today when a spark from a locomotive of the Norfolk and Western Railway set fire to grass near the plant of the Atlantic Creosoting Company and fanned by a 40-mile wind, the flames extended to the great lumber piles and oil tanks of the company, causing a loss of $60,000, and the probably fatal injury of one man. Seventy-five thousand gallons of creosoting fluid in the tanks exploded and 2,500 barrels of oil were consumed, together with several hundred thousand feet of creosoted timber and piling, valued at about $25,000.
The pier of the company, extending about 600 feet into the Elizabeth river, on which were several hundred barrels of oil, was destroyed, and the most heroic efforts saved the immense factory of the Cotton Oil and Fiber Company which adjoins the burned plant.

Sailors Act as... Read MORE...

1910 - November 14 - 1st airplane flight from deck of a ship, Norfolk, Va

historyorb.com
November 14, 1910
1926 - 18 Firemen Injured Blaze Destroys Norfolk Warehouse Filled With Berry Crates.
[By Associated Press]

Norfolk, Va., Jan. 31. - Eighteen firemen were injured, none very seriously, and more than 1,000,000 berry baskets and crates were destroyed, along with other property in f ire that razed warehouse No. 1 of the Farmers’ Manufacturing Company, here today. The firemen were injured by falling timbers when the roof of the four story structure caved in. A score of others barely escaped.

The warehouse, a big structure, was filled with the flimsy crates, baskets and barrels in anticipation for next season and with machinery and other supplies were a total loss. The fire was discovered at 8 A.M. and was not declared out for twelve hours. Estimates of the loss were at least $60,000.
Richmond Times Dispatch
Richmond, Virginia
February 1, 1926
1931 - WATERFRONT FIRE CAUSES DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT $3,000,000
NORFOLK, Va., June 8. - (AP) - Norfolk spent last night fighting a three million dollar waterfront fire.

Started by an explosion on an oil barge at the Buxton Line piers, the fire rode a strong wind along two hundred feet of wharves, destroyed a hotel, swept through the wholesale district and leaped across Main street to threaten the retail business center.

The explosion, the cause of which was sought by firemen today, occurred at 5:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon, and it was after midnight today before the combined fire fighting forces of the entire Hampton Roads area, aided by 1300 sailors and marines, brought the fire under control. A driving rain that began just before midnight checked the spread of the flames.

HOTEL RAZED
The Victoria hotel, a two hundred-room structure, was destroyed Miss Carrie Ambrose, switchboard operator and employees had escaped.
The American Peanut Corporation plant was burned down at an estimated loss of one million dollars. Seven city blocks... Read MORE...

1933 - The Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane moved over Norfolk VA and Washington D.C.
A tide seven feet above normal flooded businesses in Norfolk, and damage in Maryland was estimated at seventeen million dollars.
WeatherForYou.com
1939 to 1940 - Aline Black and Melvin Austin go to court to secure equal pay for Black teachers in Norfolk, Virginia.

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/ state-history-timeline/ virginia.html
1950 - April 2 - WTAR TV channel 3 in Norfolk, VA (CBS) begins broadcasting

historyorb.com
1981 - December 28 - Elizabeth Jordan Carr born in Norfolk. She was the 1st American test tube baby.

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/ state-history-timeline/ virginia.html
December 28, 1981
2010 - 11 pirates indicted in Norfolk for attacks on U.S. Navy ships near Somalia

www.e-referencedesk.com/ resources/ state-history-timeline/ virginia.html
2023 - Here's a list of places and activities to consider when you're in Norfolk:
1. The USS Wisconsin (BB-64): Start your journey with a visit to this mighty battleship, which is now a museum. Explore the massive decks, learn about its storied history, and even step into the captain's quarters. It's an incredible experience for history lovers and naval enthusiasts.

2. Nauticus: Adjacent to the USS Wisconsin, Nauticus is a maritime science center with interactive exhibits, a shark petting tank, and a cool, walk-through battleship exhibit. It's a great spot for families and anyone interested in the sea.

3. Norfolk Botanical Garden: If you're a nature lover, you'll be captivated by this lush garden. It's a perfect place to take a leisurely stroll, enjoy the seasonal blooms, or even take a boat tour through the waterways that wind through the garden.

4. Virginia Zoo: The Virginia Zoo is home to over 700 animals from around the world. It's a fun and educational experience for both kids and adults. Don't miss the opportunity to feed the giraffes!

5. Chrysler ... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Norfolk Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Norfolk, Virginia, USA

We currently have information about 57 ancestors who were born or died in Norfolk.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Norfolk, Virginia, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Norfolk.

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Genealogy Resources for Norfolk

Our Norfolk Gift Ideas


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Updated: 11/4/2023 12:34:57 AM