A line of Catholic earls and dukes whose peerage dates back to the 11th century, when Ralph, a staller or constable of the court of Edward the Confessor (reign 1043–66) and a benefactor of St. Riquier's Abbey, Ponthieu, was confirmed in his lands. The earldom proper was created in 1140 or 1141 for Hugh Bigod (d. 1176 or 1177), who ruled East Anglia from Framlingham castle. Roger, fifth Bigod earl of Norfolk (1245–1306), died without heirs.
The Mowbray Line. Edward I (reign 1274–1307) revived the earldom for his son, Thomas of Brotherton (1300–38), who in turn died leaving no son.
Thomas de Mowbray. First duke of Norfolk; b. 1366?; d. Venice, Sept. 22, 1399. Thomas was the grandson of Thomas of Brotherton's daughter, Margaret (c. 1320–1400), and received the revived dukedom in 1397. He had been earl marshal at 20, and had achieved power for revealing to Richard II (reign 1377–99) the plots of the earls of Arundel and Gloucester. In 1398 he was accused of treasonable words and fled abroad.
John de Mowbray. Second duke of Norfolk; b. 1389;d. Epworth, Isle of Axholme, Oct. 19, 1432. He distinguished
himself in the wars with France (1417–21; 1423–24), and was restored to his father's dukedom in 1425. He was marshal at the coronation of Henry VI in 1429.
John de Mowbray. Third duke of Norfolk, hereditary earl marshal of England and fifth earl of Nottingham; b. Sept. 12, 1415; d. Nov. 6, 1461. The son of John, he supported Richard, Duke of York, in the wars for the English succession (War of the Roses, 1455–85), but changed his allegiance to the Lancastrian King Henry VI in 1459. At the second battle of St. Alban's (1461) he fled from Henry VI's camp and fought for the Yorkist Edward IV, who was crowned king of England after his victory over the Lancastrians at Towton (1461).
John de Mowbray. Fourth duke of Norfolk; b. Oct. 18, 1444; d. Framlingham, Jan. 17, 1476. He also supported the Yorkist cause, but at his death the title again lapsed. Upon the marriage of his 5-year-old daughter, Anne, to Richard, Duke of York, second son of Edward IV, on Jan. 15, 1478, the dignity was added to his titles.
The Howard Line. The illustrious house of Howard, which long stood next in blood to the sovereign, traces its lineage to John Howard of Wiggenhall St. Peter, Norfolk, whose son, William, became a judge in 1297. The Howards came to power as Yorkists.
John Howard. First duke of Norfolk; b. 1430?; d. Bosworth Field, Aug. 22, 1485. As John of Stoke Neyland he became treasurer of Edward IV's household in 1468, and was summoned to Parliament as Lord Howard. He served as captain general at sea, and was later appointed lord admiral. On June 28, 1485, 12 days after young Richard, Duke of York and Norfolk, had been sent to the Tower by his uncle Richard III (reign 1483–85), John Howard was granted the vacant dukedom; as constable of the Tower he probably was in league with the prince's murderers. At the battle of Bosworth he commanded Richard's vanguard of archers. The "Jockey of Norfolk" fell while fighting alongside his sovereign.
Thomas Howard. Second duke of Norfolk; b. 1443;d. May 21, 1524. Like his father, John Howard, he fought for the cause of Richard III at Bosworth, and after defeat spent four years in the Tower as prisoner of the new Tudor king, Henry VII (reign 1485–1509). On release he was created earl of Surrey and proved an indispensable servant of the new monarchy as lord treasurer (1501–22) and as military general on the Scottish border. He inflicted the decisive defeat on the Scots at the battle of Flodden Field on Sept. 9, 1513, and for this service was elevated to the dukedom in February 1514, and named lord admiral. He was guardian of the realm while Henry VIII (reign 1509–47) met Francis I, King of France, on the Field of the Cloth of Gold at Calais on June 7, 1520.
Thomas Howard. Third duke of Norfolk; b. 1473; d. Kenninghall, Norfolk, Aug. 25, 1554. He succeeded his father, Thomas, and also became lord treasurer. In 1495 he was married to Anne, daughter of Edward IV. A man of "very great experience in political government," as the Venetian ambassador noted, he clung to office despite the upheavals of the Reformation. He rebuilt Kenninghall Palace in the form of a letter H, and the grandeur of it and his new palace at Norwich outdid the buildings of his rival Cardinal Thomas Wolsey. Like his father he was a fearless soldier and an astute politician. He had led the vanguard at Flodden Field, and was created earl of Surrey in February 1514. At intervals he devastated the Scottish border and raided the French coast. He led the council's attack on Cardinal wolsey, and at the latter's fall Thomas became henry viii's most trusted adviser. His position had been strengthened by the king's marriage to his niece, Anne Boleyn (1533), and by his daughter's marriage to Henry's natural son, the Duke of Richmond. His enemies hoped that Anne's trial for adultery (1536) would bring down the whole house of Howard, but Norfolk, who presided, acquiesced in her execution, and scotched a rumor that he was to be sent to the Tower by remarking that it were no more likely than "Tottenham shall turn French."
That autumn he was sent to suppress the pilgrimage of grace, the popular rising under Robert aske that was provoked by recent religious changes. At first he offered the rebels the choice of battle or submission, but at Doncaster, seeing their numbers so strong, he made a truce while their demands were forwarded to the king. In January under royal instruction he dealt with severity against the rebels, terrifying the north by his executions. In 1539 Norfolk put forward the Act of Six Articles, devised by Stephen gardiner, which restated the doctrinal position of the Henrician Reformation. The passing of this act pointed to the decline of Thomas Cromwell's power, and it was Norfolk who in June 1540 arrested Cromwell at the council table and sent him to the Tower. In July, to consolidate his position the duke promoted the marriage of his niece Catherine Howard with Henry, but the sordid business of her trial and execution in February 1542 brought the house of Howard into disrepute. Thereafter, though far too useful to be cast aside, Norfolk remained outside the inner ring of councilors. In 1544 he defeated the Scots at Solway Moss and as general of the army in France captured Boulogne, though he was soon replaced by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford and Duke of Somerset (1506?–52).
As the uncle of Prince Edward, Hertford was bent on becoming regent on the accession (1547), but to achieve this meant the overthrow of the Howards. A dynastic alliance between the families, proposed by Norfolk, foundered and before the end of 1546 he was in the Tower, for his son Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, poet and soldier of renown, had played into Hertford's hands. Surrey, it was said, devised a plan for his sister, the widowed duchess of Richmond, to become Henry's mistress. He had designs on the regency himself and was indiscreet enough to quarter the royal arms with his own. There was sufficient evidence to send him to the block on January 19 on a technical charge of treason. Old Norfolk was compromised by his son's indiscretion. On January 29 King Henry appointed commissioners to give assent to the bill of attainder against the duke, but died during the night, so Norfolk's life was saved, though he remained a prisoner of state throughout Edward VI's reign. On Mary's accession (1553) he at once returned to power, and despite his age, he prepared for the coronation as lord treasurer and earl marshal. He died full of years and honors. Though he had suppressed the Pilgrimage of Grace and shared in the scramble for monastic lands, the third duke was essentially a conservative, and it was for political and dynastic reasons that he abhorred Protestantism and despised the New Learning.
Thomas Howard. Fourth duke of Norfolk; b. March 10, 1538; d. June 2, 1572. He was the son of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey. After a year in the custody of Sir John Williams he was placed at Reigate (1548) under his aunt, the Duchess of Richmond, who engaged John Foxe (1516–87) as his tutor. Brought to court on Queen Mary's accession (1553) he was placed in the households successively of Bps. Stephen Gardiner and John White, who sought to eradicate the teaching of Foxe. In 1554 he became a gentleman of the chamber of the Infante, Philip of Spain, and that summer succeeded to the dukedom of his grandfather. In 1555 he married Mary Fitzalan, daughter of Henry, Earl of Arundel, but she died in childbirth in June 1557. In the first week of Elizabeth's reign (1558–1603) Thomas married Margaret Audley, widow of Lord Henry Dudley. As premier peer and sole duke he was connected by descent or alliance with most of the nobility. He was the richest landowner and his Liberty of Norfolk was the greatest private franchise in the kingdom. Despite his power as a territorial magnate that enabled him to return East Anglian and Sussex members of Parliament to Westminster, Elizabeth delayed taking him into her confidence. In December 1559 she appointed him lieutenant general in the war against the French in Scotland, which culminated in the treaty of Edinburgh, breaking the "Auld Alliance." There he came close to William Cecil (1520–98) and shared his suspicion of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester (1532?–88), Elizabeth's favorite; for seven years opposition to Dudley remained the basis of Norfolk's political action. On the queen's recovery from serious illness in October 1562 Dudley was made a privy councilor, and on Cecil's insistence Norfolk entered the council the same day to balance Leicester's power. Cecil, with the duke's enthusiastic support, began negotiations for Elizabeth's marriage to the Archduke Charles of Austria, which were to founder on the question of his right to a private Catholic chapel. In the Parliament of 1566 Norfolk was spokesman for the lords, insisting that Elizabeth should marry and settle the succession, and he displayed real political courage. As a result the Hapsburg negotiations were resumed, but the duke was too ill to attend the vital council meetings in the autumn of 1567 that settled the issue, and in his absence Leicester's intrigues for a French match and his stirring Protestant opinion against the Austrian alliance and its begetters wounded Norfolk.
After Margaret Audley's death Norfolk married Elizabeth, widow of Lord Thomas Dacre, in January 1567. She was a devout Catholic. Her death in childbed that autumn brought him low and it was as a widower for the third time that he began to listen to the suggestion that he should marry mary stuart, queen of scots.
Following Mary's flight to England Norfolk went as principal commissioner to York to investigate the charges brought against her in September 1568. Here William Maitland (1528?–73), Mary's secretary for foreign affairs, whispered his proposal that a match with Mary would at a stroke solve the Scottish problem and the question of the succession in England. The duke had been openly mentioned as a consort for Mary on two earlier occasions, but now that the Casket Letters had convinced him of Mary's guilt in Lord Darnley's murder (1567) he was noncommittal. Elizabeth suspected that Norfolk was not behaving impartially toward Mary and recalled him from York to an enlarged commission in London. Intrigues and the double dealing of James Stewart, Earl of Moray (1531?–70), here showed the duke in an unfavorable light and by the end of 1568 he had decided to go forward with the marriage scheme as the only avenue to power. To achieve this he made an uneasy alliance with Leicester and together they planned to get rid of William Cecil, then especially unpopular; but Elizabeth stood by her secretary and his opponents could only pursue their goal by intrigue. Other schemes were devised, such as the design of Henry fitzalan, Earl of Arundel; John Lumley; Thomas, Earl of Northumberland; and Charles, Earl of Westmorland, for liberating Mary with Spanish arms and deposing Elizabeth. In all these schemes Norfolk's marriage with Mary was a cardinal feature.
Leicester prevaricated. He had insisted on obtaining Elizabeth's consent to the marriage himself and finally outwitted Norfolk. Elizabeth put Norfolk on his allegiance to deal no more with Mary and fearing for his life he fled from court to London and thence, on September 16, to Kenninghall. Having instructed the northern earls to call off their rising he went to Windsor to submit. The charges against him did not add up to high treason, but in the prevailing political uncertainty the Tower seemed the safest place for him, and the outbreak of the Northern Rebellion made an early release unlikely. In August 1570, after Norfolk had written a full submission, Elizabeth allowed him to go to the Charterhouse under strict supervision, on account of his health. Within weeks Roberto di Ridolfi (1531–1612), the Florentine banker, had him involved in his grand design for a Spanish invasion of England. Norfolk himself never signed the fatal letters to the Duke of Alva, Philip II, and the pope. With the unravelling of the Ridolfi conspiracy there was ample evidence to send Norfolk for trial on Jan. 16, 1572. Though he protested his innocence, his peers found him guilty. Elizabeth hesitated signing his death warrant but could not hold out indefinitely against the logic of statecraft, and the last duke of medieval creation was executed on June 2, maintaining his innocence and denying he was a Catholic. Though aloof and indecisive he remained a popular figure to the end.
The dukedom did not pass to Thomas' eldest son, Philip howard, who lost the favor of Elizabeth I and was imprisoned allegedly for treason. Philip's eldest son, Thomas (1586–1646), however, was restored to the earldom of Arundel in 1604. The friend of the antiquaries Sir Robert Cotton and Sir Henry Spelman, he formed the first notable art collection in England. Out of sympathy with the court of Charles I (reign 1625–49), he left England for Italy before the civil war, but contributed £ 54,000 to the royalist cause, in recognition of which he was created earl of Norfolk on June 6, 1644. His second son, Henry (1608–54), a zealous royalist, fought at Edgehill, and upon his return to his estates found that they had passed into the possession of Parliament. By a vote of the House of Commons, he was allowed to compound them for £ 6,000 in 1648. Henry's son Thomas (1627–77), while in exile with his grandfather, developed brain fever from which he never recovered, but at the restoration of Charles II (reign 1660–85) he became the fifth duke of Norfolk by an act of Parliament on Dec. 29, 1660. He died unmarried, and with him the earldom of Arundel descended with the dukedom. His successors for the next century play little part in public affairs: Henry, sixth duke (1628–84), brother of Thomas, succeeded in 1677; Henry, seventh duke (1655–1701), son of Henry, succeeded in 1684; Thomas, eighth duke (1683–1732), nephew of Henry, succeeded in 1701; Edward, ninth duke (1685–1777), brother of Thomas, succeeded in 1732; Charles, tenth duke (1720–86), descendant of the seventh duke, succeeded in 1777.
Charles Howard. Eleventh duke of Norfolk; b. March 5, 1746; d. Norfolk House, London, Dec. 16, 1815. He had been a member of Parliament for Carlisle and turned Protestant during the gordon riots. Described as a hard drinker, he, with the Prince Regent George, set the fashion for late and boisterous dinners. At a political banquet (1798) he gave a toast to "our sovereign's health—the majesty of the people," which offended King George. He was dismissed from his posts. Charles took in hand the rebuilding of Arundel Castle (1791) and lived to see the completion of the new Baron's Hall (1815).
Bernard Edward Howard. Twelfth duke of Norfolk; b. Sheffield, Nov. 21, 1765; d. Norfolk House, London, March 19, 1842. The third cousin of Charles, Bernard was a Catholic and by an act of Parliament, was allowed to retain the hereditary dignity of earl marshal. He was admitted to the House of Lords after the Catholic Relief Bill (1829), and was named a privy councilor in 1830.
Bernard Edward Howard. Thirteenth duke of Norfolk; b. London, Aug. 12, 1791; d. Arundel Castle, Feb. 18, 1856. He succeeded his father, Bernard, and became the first avowed Catholic member of Parliament since 1688, being returned as member for Arundel on May 4, 1829, following the passage of Catholic Emancipation. As a supporter of Lord John Russell (1792–1878), he voted for the anti-Catholic Ecclesiastical Titles Bill (1850) and remained little more than Catholic in name until his deathbed reconciliation.
Henry Granville Howard. Fourteenth duke of Norfolk; b. London, Nov. 7, 1815; d. Arundel Castle, Nov. 25, 1860. He changed his surname to Fitzalan-Howard in 1842. He was a Whig member of Parliament for Arundel (1837–50) when he resigned his seat on the enactment of Russell's Ecclesiastical Titles Bill and broke with the Whigs. He was renowned for his zeal as a Catholic and for his charity.
Henry Fitzalan-Howard. Fifteenth duke of Norfolk; b. London, Dec. 27, 1847; d. there, Feb. 11, 1917. He succeeded in 1860 and was the first to play a notable part in public life since the Reformation. Educated under John Henry newman at the Oratory School, he became the recognized head of the English Catholic laity, and his influence aided Newman's election to the cardinalate in 1878. He was the first lord mayor of Sheffield and first mayor of Westminster. A Unionist, he resigned the post of postmaster general in 1900 to join the Imperial Yeomanry in South Africa. As earl marshal at the coronations of Edward VII (Aug. 9, 1902) and George V (June 22, 1911) he revised several ancient usages. He built churches at Arundel and at Norwich, the latter as a thank-offering for the birth of an heir to his second wife.
Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard. Sixteenth duke of Norfolk; b. Arundel House, May 30, 1908. He officiated as earl marshal at the coronations of George VI (May 12, 1937) and Elizabeth II (June 2, 1953). An experienced landowner, he served as joint parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture (1941–45). His interests in sports and the countryside made him a popular figure, and in 1962 and 1963 he was manager of the English Cricket XI on its Australian tour. He also directed the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
Bibliography: a. collins, The Peerage of England …, enl. s. e. brydges, 9 v. (London 1812). j. e. doyle, The Official Baronage of England … 1066–1885, 3 v. (London 1885). e. lodge, The Peerage and Baronetage of the British Empire as at Present Existing (70th ed. London 1901). w. dugdale, The Baronage of England … , 2 v. (London 1675–76). c. read, ed., Bibliography of British History: Tudor Period, 1485–1603 (2d ed. New York 1959). w. hunt et al., The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 1908–09, 1921–22, 1938; suppl. 1901–) 10:1–76, j. tait, The Dictionary of National Biography From the Earliest Times to 1900, 63 v. (London 1885–1900; repr. with corrections, 21 v., 1908–09, 1921–22, 1938; suppl. 1901–) 13:1114–35. p. hughes, The Reformation in England, 3 v. in 1 (5th, rev. ed. New York 1963). j. gillow, A Literary and Biographical History or Bibliographical Dictionary of the English Catholics from 1534 to the Present time, 5 v. (London-New York 1885–1902; repr. New York 1961) 5:184–187. l. b. smith, A Tudor Tragedy: The Life and Times of Catherine Howard (New York 1961). n. williams, Thomas Howard, Fourth Duke of Norfolk (London 1964).
Visitors to Norfolk can observe giant aircraft carriers and guided-missile cruisers juxtaposed with sailboats and pedestrian ferries in the city's busy harbor. As home to the world's largest naval base, Naval Station Norfolk, the port has many significant U.S. Marine, U.S. Coast Guard, and NATO facilities as well. The Spirit of Norfolk passenger ship offers lunch and dinner cruises along Norfolk's scenic and historic waterfront.
Sightseeing harbor cruises are also provided by the three-masted schooner American Rover, the Mississippi-style paddle-wheeler Carrie B, and the sleek ship Spirit of Norfolk. Trolley tours to the city's major historic and cultural attractions are offered daily from the Waterside complex. Tour buses also make trips to Naval Station Norfolk, home port to more than 100 ships of the Atlantic fleet.
Nauticus, the National Maritime Center, is a 120,000 square foot science center with a nautical theme that celebrates the region's rich maritime heritage. It offers interactive exhibits, a shark tank, a weather forecasting lab, a giant-screen theater, and hands-on displays for all ages, as well as traveling exhibits. Within Nauticus is the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, which introduces tourists to more than two centuries of naval history through ship models, works of art, and artifacts from sunken ships. Docked outside is the 1933 tugboat Huntington, which houses a tugboat museum that salutes the "Workhorses of the Waterways." The largest and last battleship ever built by the U.S. Navy is also moored next to Nauticus; visitors can take self-guided tours across the decks of the World War II vessel, the USS Wisconsin.
Strollers through Town Point Park can stop by the Armed Forces Memorial, which has on display descriptions of life during wartime taken from letters written home by U.S. service people who were killed in wars, from the American Revolution to the Persian Gulf War. The region's military history is further reflected in Fort Norfolk, with brick and earthwork buildings dating back to 1810. It is surrounded by a wall and ramparts built to protect the structure against invasion by the British.
Nearby is the picturesque Freemason district, Norfolk's oldest existing neighborhood. There visitors can walk along cobblestone streets, following the Cannonball Trail through 400 years of recorded history and past the Willoughby-Baylor House (a 1794 Federal townhouse that features period furnishings), Freemason Street Baptist Church, the cannonball-studded wall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the Confederate Memorial. Norfolk's Freemason District is also part of the Civil War Trails system, linking more than 200 Civil War sites around and beyond the city. Included in Norfolk is the Black Civil War Memorial, which stands as the only recognition of African American troops to date in the South.
The Ghent district, Norfolk's first planned community, is a combination of restored houses, galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and antique shops. The Hermitage Foundation Museum is housed in a wooded setting on the Lafayette River on a 12-acre estate. Within the splendid English Tudor home are displays of European ceramics and paintings, German hand-painted glass objets d'art, ivory carvings, Persian rugs, and ritual bronzes and ceramic tomb figures from China.
For more than a century the Virginia Zoological Park has provided a look into the lives of many kinds of animals, which now number more than 350 and range from white rhinos to red-ruffed lemurs. The most recent addition is a male African lion named Mramba; the lion is part of a long-term breeding and conservation effort at select zoos across the country. The zoo grounds are divided into habitats of animals from various continents in large enclosures that encourage natural behaviors. On a path that features interactive exhibits about African river deltas and other ecological zones, visitors encounter many interesting animals and sights, including a unique dismal swamp exhibit. The Norfolk Botanical Gardens encompasses 155 acres of colorful flower gardens; in 2005, a special exhibition titled "Treasure Island" will lead visitors to themed destinations and offer a variety of interactive, educational activities for children of all ages. Boat trips are available through the garden's waterways with their brilliant exotic blooms.
Arts and Culture
The Chrysler Museum of Art contains a collection of 30,000 original works from many time periods and geographic areas. The American Painting and Sculpture collection contains a selection of colonial and folk art offerings along with examples of American Impressionism. The European Painting and Sculpture collection features Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Dutch, and French works from such masters as Rubens, de Clerck, and Renoir. The showpiece exhibit may be a magnificent 8,000-piece glass collection featuring wonderful Tiffany and Lalique displays.
The D'Art Center is comprised of 30 studios in which artists both create and sell their works; visitors can tour the studios to watch painters, sculptors, potters, and jewelry makers at work.
Military museums abound in Norfolk, including The National Maritime Center and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. The latter incorporates 225 years of Hampton Roads naval history and operates the living history experience aboard the USS Wisconsin.
Downtown Norfolk provides a number of opportunities to see what life was like in the early days of the city, including the Hermitage Foundation Museum (a Tudor home from 1908) and the Hunter House Victorian Museum (built in 1894 by architect W.D. Wentworth).
Norfolk boasts the oldest theater designed, developed, financed, and operated entirely by African Americans—the Attucks Theatre, named for the African American man who fell as the first casualty of the American Revolution. The theater has recently been renovated after being closed in the mid 1950s, with the aim of again hosting luminaries of the caliber of Duke Ellington and Nat King Cole.
Norfolk's premiere performing arts center is Chrysler Hall, which annually stages the Broadway at Chrysler Hall series, touring productions of musicals and plays, and a star-studded roster of musical and spoken-word performers. Harrison Opera House is home to the well-respected Virginia Opera, which offers five productions annually in addition to other dance, music and theatrical works. The opera building also houses the Virginia Opera's Education and Outreach Program, sending resident artists into the public schools to awaken students to the joys, passions and tragedies that are opera. The Virginia Stage Company professional theater produces six major shows yearly, as well as smaller shows and children's theater activities at the historic and elegant Wells Theater. Several small, local theater groups also operate in the Norfolk region, including the Generic Theater (off-beat theater), the Little Theatre of Norfolk (one of the nation's oldest community theaters) and the Hurrah Players (family theater starring aspiring performers).
Hampton Roads' sole professional dance company is the Virginia Ballet Theatre, which is one of only two professional companies in the entire state of Virginia. The Ballet Theatre was created in 1961 to promote regional ballet, train young dancers, and provide a creative center for the performing arts.
The Virginia Symphony performs more than 140 concerts each year, from classical to pops. The group also offers young people's concerts. Under the current maestro, the Symphony has recorded five CDs for national release, performed "Peter and the Wolf" for airing on National Public Radio, and played the Kennedy Center in January 2000. The Virginia Symphony also lends orchestral support to the Virginia Opera.
The Virginia Chorale has, since 1984, been the common-wealth's only fully professional choral group, performing music from all time periods and particularly skilled in a cappella renditions. The Chorale offers Masters Classes and the Young Singers Project as part of their outreach and education endeavors.
The Governor's School for the Arts, at home in Norfolk, plays a pivotal role in keeping the arts alive in the Hampton Roads area. Art education programs are offered in dance, vocal and instrumental music, theater, and visual arts, with a number of student productions performed to further develop the artists and showcase their burgeoning talents.
Festivals and Holidays
Norfolk enjoys a variety of events and festivals at different sites around the city. In September, Town Point Park is the site of three related events: the Virginia in Water Boat Expo, the Norfolk Seafood Sampler, and the Beach Music Festival. For cinema aficionados, the SOL Film Festival comes to downtown Norfolk in early October, with independent films competing for prizes. October breezes also bring the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner race, a three-day race designed to increase awareness of the fragile ecosystem contained in the Bay. The race concludes at Town Point Park, where the racing vessels line up and create a backdrop for the Town Point Virginia Wine Festival. At this event, more than 25 Virginia wineries provide samplings; also featured are gourmet foods, specialty crafts, and live musical entertainment. The holidays are welcomed with the Grand Illumination Parade and its associated events that take place in downtown Norfolk and nearby Portsmouth, including a progressive dinner termed "Wine and Dine."
Norfolk celebrates St. Patrick's Day on March 17 with the Greening of Ghent, which includes a parade and party in the Ghent neighborhood. April's events include the International Azalea Festival at the Botanical Gardens, and the Virginia International Tattoo, a spectacle of music featuring drill teams, massed pipe and drum corps, gymnasts, and folk dancers. The Tattoo is part of Virginia's Arts Festival, a month-long celebration of the arts that includes classical music, jazz, and chamber music events, as well as dance and visual arts exhibitions that take place throughout the region.
May is the time for the Cinco de Mayo Celebration featuring Mexican food and music, the annual Town Point Jazz and Blues Festival, and the Afr'Am Fest, a weekend cultural celebration of ethnic music, dance, theater and exhibits. The Elizabeth Riverfront in Town Point Park is the site of numerous music, arts, and cultural festivals throughout the spring and summer months. In June the Norfolk Harborfest celebrates the region's rich nautical heritage. Independence Day brings the Great American Picnic and Celebration, which ends with a spectacular fireworks display. The last big event of the summer is the Norfolk Latino Festival in late August, celebrating the heat with spicy cuisine, smokin' music, and sizzling art.
Sports for the Spectator
Norfolk fans watch the puck drop to start the games of the Hampton Roads Admirals of the American Hockey League, who play at Norfolk SCOPE. The Norfolk Tides baseball team, a minor league affiliate of the New York Mets, play at the Riverfront's Harbor Park. Rugby fans can enjoy Norfolk Blue rugby team matches; the highly successful club has been playing in the Norfolk area since 1978. Norfolk State University varsity teams compete in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association football league, while Old Dominion's men's and women's basketball teams are both Division I NCAA competitors. Other Old Dominion University sport offerings include baseball, soccer, women's field hockey, track and field events, and a variety of club sports. The Virginia Wesleyan Marlins play basketball in Division III of the NCAA and can entertain fans with a selection of varsity and club sports.
Sports for the Participant
Surrounded by all that water, it's natural that the Norfolk area entices avid rowers, sea kayakers, swimmers, jet skiers and windsurfers. Fishing can become a religion for some, with access to Chesapeake species such as speckled trout, flounder, bluefish, rockfish, and more. A number of private companies run charters out of the Chesapeake Bay area. The City of Norfolk Police Department coordinates the Police Athletic League, or PAL, which gives local youth a chance to participate in volleyball, boxing, basketball, football, girls' softball and track events. Golfers can go 18 holes on any of three public golf courses: Lake Wright Golf Course, Stumpy Lake Golf Course and Ocean View Golf Course. Nearby Virginia Beach is home to even more public and private courses. The Tidewater Tennis Center and Northside Park, where many local tournaments are held, are but two of more than a dozen tennis courts in the city.
Venturing outside of Norfolk, there are spectacular hikes in Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains approximately 2.5 hours northwest of the Tidewater region. The Old Rag Summit Ridge Trail is often recommended, as is the section of the Appalachian Trail that meanders through the park.
Shopping and Dining
MacArthur Center, a regional shopping mecca, is within walking distance of the local convention center. The $300 million complex offers more than a million square feet of shops, restaurants and entertainment centers, with Nordstrom and Dillards as its anchor stores. The Selden Arcade downtown in the city's financial district offers clothing shops, bookstores, and jewelry shops. The upscale Ghent Shopping District is known for its home furnishings, boutiques, and clothing shops. Military Circle is a mega-mall that offers department stores and a cinema. JANAF Shopping Center offers bargains on clothing, sports equipment, and home furnishings. For an eclectic mix of retailers, restaurateurs and entertainers, the Waterside Festival Marketplace is the place to be; located right on the water, with ferries and boat tours departing from the premises, it's a one-stop-shop for food and fun.
Speaking of food, Norfolk's southern location means that diners can get quality soul food, including ribs, fried chicken, collard greens, biscuits, and other delectables. The community is home to an astonishing number of establishments serving Italian food, with northern Italian cuisine coming on strong at present. Southwestern and Mexican restaurants are also plentiful, with a couple of spots dedicated to the art of tapas. Diners can catch a taste of fresh seafood at a number of places along the waterfront and beyond. Being a port city with a constant international influence, Norfolk eateries cater to a broad variety of other tastes as well, including French, Mediterranean, Cajun/Creole, German, Caribbean, Indian, Greek, Irish, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, and American fare.
Visitor Information: Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau, 232 E. Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510; telephone (757)664-6620; toll-free (800)368-3097
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Norfolk serves as the business and financial center of the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. Shipbuilding and shipping are a vital part of Norfolk's economy, with the city's 45-foot-deep channel allowing it to accommodate very large ships. As a major seaport through which millions of tons of cargo pass each year, it handles such commodities as tobacco, cotton, timber, coal, truck crops, and grain.
With an ideal harbor and waterways, the city is the site of the Naval Base Norfolk, the largest naval base in the United States and the world. It also serves as home to the headquarters of the Fifth Naval District of the Atlantic Fleet and the Second Fleet, and it houses the district headquarters of the Coast Guard. In addition to the thousands of U.S. Navy personnel stationed in Norfolk, many local citizens also work in naval operations. The city is second only to San Diego, California, in the number of retired navy men and women who reside there.
Local industries include ship and light truck manufacturing, creation of law enforcement and military equipment, plastic production and communications. Between the rich local history and the presence of a plethora of seaside resorts, tourism is another important local industry. Local boats provide ferry service to nearby Portsmouth.
Items and goods produced: chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, automobiles, ships, military and law enforcement equipment, agricultural machinery, seafood, and peanut oil
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
Through its Local Enterprise Zone Incentive Program, the city of Norfolk offers local tax and fee reductions on a five-year declining percentage ratio for business license and utility tax. In the first year of qualification a one-time-only 50 percent reduction is allowed on fees related to building, electrical, mechanical and plumbing permits. In the case of businesses that invest a minimum of $500,000 in the Local Enterprise Zone, the city agrees to complete complementary public improvements in the immediate vicinity. Additionally, the city offers security audits free of charge to businesses in the zone.
In its State Enterprise Zone Program, the State of Virginia offers tax incentives, property tax incentives, sales and use tax exemptions, and job grants. Among Virginia's tax credits are a General Income Tax Credit (up to 80 percent in the first year and 60 percent in years 2-10) and a Real Property Improvement Tax Credit (up to 30 percent, not to exceed $125,000 within a 5 year period).
Job training programs
In the Hampton Roads area, Opportunity, Inc., provides employers and job seekers with necessary networks and resources in an effort to achieve their mission of "strengthening the localized talent pool of workers to match private sector investments in technology, capital, and product improvement." Acting under the auspices of the Hampton Roads Workforce Development Board and funded through the Workforce Investment Act, the agency offers workshops, links to online tools and access to a statewide collection of strategic partners.
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce also supports the Workforce Focus program, which keeps local employers abreast of labor market trends, employment best practices and workforce resources.
The Norfolk 2010 strategic plan calls for a menu of renovation and new construction in the downtown and outlying areas; new office space, retail trade facilities, entertainment enterprises, and hotels are currently being built in the revitalized city center. The Chesapeake Bay project began construction in 2003 and will eventually house 237 luxury condominiums along an attractive Harbor Walk. The development will be mixed use, presenting an urban feel to a beachfront area designed to encourage pedestrian usage. Additionally, Trader Publishing announced in August 2004 that it plans to bring its national headquarters to downtown Norfolk, which will bring 1,600 new jobs to the area.
On the former site of a brick and earthwork fort, the new Fort Norfolk has been taking shape as the bridge between the downtown area and the Hampton Roads major medical complex. Construction of a $30 million Public Health Center contributed a biotech incubator, in which bioelectric research and experimentation will be conducted. The facility is joined to the Eastern Virginia Medical School by a walk-way and has also allowed for vast expansion of the medical school's Edward E. Brickell Medical Service Library. The city of Norfolk demonstrated considerable foresight in designating Plum Point as open space, a parcel of land that was donated by the Virginia Port Authority.
Further capitalizing on its layers of history and potential for increased tourist trade, the City of Norfolk is supporting the renovation of several historic structures in the Church Street district within the city center. The Attucks Theater, begun in 1919 and named after the African American man who was the first casualty of the American Revolution, is the oldest theater in the state and remains a landmark for African Americans throughout the U.S. The Crispus Attucks Cultural Center, Inc., will additionally receive its share of attention as the city continues to build on its history.
Old Dominion University and its Real Estate Foundation have partnered with the City of Norfolk in expanding and updating the campus, including office and research facilities, shopping areas, a convocation hall and other components of what is being called the University Village.
Economic Development Information: Department of Development, City of Norfolk, 500 East Main St., Suite 1500, Norfolk, VA 23510; telephone (757)664-4338
In 2004, more than 14.7 million tons of cargo passed through the port of Virginia in Norfolk, a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Between the purchase of eight Suez-class cranes and a $280 million dollar renovation and expansion, the port is poised to compete for the number one spot as an East Coast container port. Exports of coal, food products, tobacco, and the majority of grain from the United States pass through the port of Norfolk.
Norfolk International Airport provides a cargo service in support of the city's 135 motor freight carriers. Railroad freight carriers include the Norfolk Southern, Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line, Norfolk & Western, Southern, Eastern Shore, and CSX railroads.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
The Chamber of Commerce notes that the local workforce is numerous but unprepared for the new employment opportunities offered by the community's companies. Efforts have been underway since at least 2003 to enlist the support of Hampton Roads employers in advocating for classes and degree programs that are tailored more closely to the needs of local industries; at the same time, the city continues to focus on attracting technological, medical and industrial companies that will entice graduates of the region's universities to stay and work locally.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Norfolk metropolitan area labor force as of 2003.
Size of nonagricultural labor force: 730,800
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 44,700
trade, transportation and public utilities: 134,900
financial activities: 38,000
professional and business services: 98,800
educational and health services: 78,100
leisure and hospitality: 77,300
other services: 33,500
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $18.42
Unemployment rate: 4.0% (December 2004)
|Largest employers||Number of employees|
|Sentara Health Care||15,000|
|City of Norfolk||6,000|
|Norfolk Public School District||5,280|
|Naval Station Norfolk||4,000|
|Old Dominion University||1,600|
Cost of Living
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Norfolk area.
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $266,775
2004 (3rd quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 102.1 (U.S. average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: 2.0% to 5.75% (corporate business tax rate: 6%)
State sales tax rate: 3.5%; 3.0% on food
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: None
Property tax rate: Based on 100% of Fair Market Value × $1.40 per $100 of assessed valuation ($1.58 per $100.00 for the business district).
Economic Information: Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 327, Norfolk, VA 23501; telephone (757)622-2312
In the Beginning
Beginning in about 9500 B.C., the area that is now Norfolk was called Skicoak, and was ruled by the Chesipean Indians.
But by the time the first Europeans reached the area, the tribe members had been driven out or killed by Chief Powhatan, after one of his advisors told Powhatan that in a dream he had seen the Powhatan Confederacy destroyed by strangers from the East. Powhatan thought this was a sign he should destroy the Chesipeans, even though they were a peaceful people.
In the 1560s, settlers arrived from Spain, briefly living along the York River in a Jesuit community called Ajacan. Initially, the plan was to convert the Indians, but when the native people attacked the settlement in 1571, the Spanish abandoned Ajacan. The English were the next to test the area as a colony site, establishing Roanoke Settlement in 1585 under the guidance of Sir Walter Raleigh. The initial group of colonists abandoned Roanoke the next year and were followed by a second group in 1587; this second settlement disappeared without a trace by 1590 in one of the enduring mysteries of early recorded American history.
In 1624 Virginia became a Royal Colony when King James I of England granted 500 acres of land in what is now the Ocean View section of Norfolk to Thomas Willoughby. Twelve years later, King Charles I of England gave Willoughby 200 additional acres, and this also became part of the original town of Norfolk.
In 1670, the British government directed the "building of storehouses to receive imported merchandise. . .and tobacco for export." This marked the beginning of Norfolk's importance as a port city. In 1673 the Virginia House of Burgesses called for the construction of Half Moon fort at the site of what is now Town Point Park.
City Prospers, Then Faces Destruction and Rebuilding
In 1682 England decreed that the "Towne of Lower Norfolk County" be established. The town was incorporated in 1705 and rechartered as a borough in 1736. For several decades the building of homes, farms, and businesses continued throughout the area, and Norfolk developed into a center for West Indies trade and the shipping of export products from the plantations of Virginia and the Carolinas. By 1775, Norfolk was known as the most prosperous city in Virginia.
The city served as a center for Tory forces during the American Revolution. On New Year's Day 1776, English ships under Royal Governor Lord Dunmore opened fire on the city, continuing their assault for eleven hours. High winds whipped up the flames and two-thirds of the city was destroyed by fire or cannonballs. By month's end the patriot colonists had torched the rest of the city to prevent the sheltering of Lord Dunmore and his forces. Every building in the city was destroyed by fire or cannonballs except Saint Paul's Church; a British cannonball remains in the wall of the church as testimony to the conflict. After the war, the citizens rallied and the city was rebuilt. In time it became a major shipbuilding and maritime center. In 1810, the U.S. government constructed a new fort at the site of dilapidated old Fort Norfolk. At that time the city's population stood at about 9,000 people.
Ports, Forts and Exports
The nineteenth century brought more troubles for the city. A major fire in 1804 destroyed 300 houses, warehouses, and stores. The population, which had been growing steadily, actually declined from more than 9,000 people in 1810 to 8,478 people by 1820.
Conveniently situated on the water and philosophically allied with the agitating Confederate states, Norfolk in 1821 became the embarkation point for African and African American individuals being sent back to Africa. Norfolk native Joseph Jenkins Roberts went on to become the first president of the Republic of Liberia after being deported. Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, with the Norfolk Navy Yard assuming a critical role as vessels docked there were burned or scuttled, including the famed Merrimac. It was in the Navy Yard that the Merrimac was rebuilt as an ironclad vessel renamed the Virginia, which went on to engage in the first ironclad battle against the Monitor. In May 1862, early in the Civil War, Norfolk was captured by Union forces. The troops ransacked the houses of the citizenry and forced passengers on local ferries to trample on the Confederate flag.
At the end of the Civil War, Norfolk buildings were in ruins and the city's foreign trade was nonexistent. At that time, the population stood at about 19,000 citizens. But within 20 years the city experienced a turnaround and three-story brick buildings lined the streets of Norfolk, which by then had thriving hotels and a large farmers' market. Steamships visited the port regularly and rail service connected it with other parts of the country. The 1880 population had grown to 21,966 residents.
And the Pendulum Swings: Prosperity, Then Depression Times
In 1907, the Jamestown Exposition, held to celebrate the 300-year history of that nearby city, led to Norfolk's building several downtown hotels and office buildings. Visitors came from every state and dignitaries traveled from around the world to take part in the seven-month run of the event.
Norfolk's tremendous military growth began during World War I. In 1917, the land that was the site of the Jamestown Exposition became the U.S. Naval Operating Base and Training Station, which was later renamed Naval Station Norfolk. It was during this time that Norfolk was nationally recognized for leading the country in Navy recruitment. Between 1910 and 1920 the city's population grew from around 67,000 people to nearly 116,000 people as the city also experienced an influx of workers at numerous new private manufacturing plants.
Prosperity declined after the heady war years, when Norfolk handled much of the coal that came by train from West Virginia to be shipped elsewhere. In 1922 Norfolk helped establish solid economic ground for itself by building a $5 million grain elevator and terminal. It also built a $500,000 farmers' market and annexed 27 square miles of nearby land, which included the Navy base area and the Ocean View resort district. Because of large-scale naval operations, the city did not suffer as much from the Great Depression as some others, and by 1940 the population stood at more than 144,000 residents.
New Development Follows War Years
With the coming of World War II, Norfolk once again saw thousands of workers descend on the city and the region, where more than 100 ships and landing craft were built during the war. The war years saw a rapid increase in the development of individual residences and apartment buildings, and the city struggled to deal with overcrowding. Between 1940 and 1944, the population practically doubled. That period also saw the expansion of furniture manufacturing, fertilizer plants, and other industries.
In the years after World War II, Norfolk began a campaign to annex neighboring counties. Slums were cleared and public housing was constructed. In addition, hundreds of acres of land in the downtown were razed and rebuilt. Much of this redevelopment was spurred by the SCOPE Convention and Cultural Center. This facility includes the Chrysler Museum and Chrysler Hall, named in honor of automobile mogul Walter P. Chrysler, who donated his extensive art collection to the city.
In 1952 the Elizabeth River Tunnel between Norfolk and Portsmouth was completed, and a second tunnel followed 10 years later. By then the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel linking Norfolk to the nearby city of Hampton was also built.
Virginia's third medical college, the Eastern Virginia Medical School, was built in Norfolk in 1973. During the next decade old buildings were razed and the Waterside Festival Marketplace, Town Point Park, and a number of condominiums were built along Norfolk's waterfront. Between 1950 and 1980 the population grew from 213,513 people to nearly 267,000 people. The 1980s saw development in the city that included th National Maritime Center, a new baseball stadium, and the construction of the Ghent Square neighborhood containing restored upscale residences.
In June 2000 the city was home to OpSail 2000, the largest tall ship and maritime event in history. Norfolk served as one of only six U.S. host ports for the events, which involved a fleet of 150 ships from more than 50 nations.
Today, Norfolk continues its long tradition of self-renewal with ambitious building projects in the downtown area strategically planned to continue through 2010, new residential developments along the water, and revitalization efforts within the abundance of varied historical neighborhoods. The Navy and the port continue to define Norfolk's character; the battleship U.S.S. Wisconsin is docked at Norfolk, with the National Maritime Center nearby on the waterfront. No matter what else changes in Norfolk, the sea stays at its core.
Historical Information: Norfolk County Historical Society, PO Box 6367, Norfolk, VA 23508-0367
The county takes its name from the North-folk of the Saxon settlement. In Roman times it was in Iceni territory. It then became part of the Saxon kingdom of East Anglia, which retained some independence until the 9th cent., when it fell under Danish control. The difference between Norfolk and Suffolk was acknowledged early: the whole area was under the diocese of Dunwich until 673, when a new diocese was establish at North Elmham, near East Dereham. Despite severe depredations—Thetford and Norwich were sacked by the Danes in 1004—the region grew in population and prosperity. Thetford, Yarmouth, and Norwich were flourishing towns by the time of the Domesday survey in 1086. Thetford gained a temporary advantage in 1072 when the bishopric was moved there from North Elmham, but in 1094 it was transferred again, this time to Norwich, where it stayed. The great cathedral was started in 1096. Bishop's Lynn, which became King's Lynn at the time of the Reformation in 1536, may have existed before the Norman Conquest, probably as a place where salt was made, but its development as a major port was in the late 11th and 12th cents.
Norfolk's prosperity owed much to its geographical position. The long coastline, though hazardous, promised abundant fish. Yarmouth bloaters soon acquired a national reputation and the town remained in the top ten until the later 18th cent. After the Danish attacks had ceased the county was free from marauders. Unlike Northumberland or Herefordshire, it did not have to face Scottish or Welsh border raids, and during the Civil War, though there was skirmishing and King's Lynn suffered a month's siege in 1643, there was no fighting on the scale that Gloucestershire, Somerset, or Worcestershire saw. Kett's rising in 1549, mainly a protest against enclosures, did little permanent damage, though Norwich was taken and retaken. In the south-west of the county, schemes of improved drainage in the 17th and 18th cents. turned thousands of acres of fen into good agricultural land. Norwich became one of the great centres of the cloth industry and by Tudor times was the second town in the kingdom. Norfolk's nearness to London gave it great opportunities as the capital grew to unprecedented proportions and East Anglia became London's larder.
Defoe's visit in 1723 came when Norfolk's prosperity was still at its height. He was amazed at the ‘prodigious number’ of turkeys and geese driven up to London in vast droves of 1,000 or 2,000 birds. At Norwich, the clothiers ‘employ all the country round in spinning yarn for them’: nobody was unemployed who wished to work. At Yarmouth, so many vessels were crammed in by the quayside that ‘one may walk from ship to ship as on a floating bridge’.
By 1800, the county's relative prosperity was over. As colonies were established, the ports of the west coast—Bristol, Liverpool, and Glasgow—had the advantage, and, in population, Norwich was surpassed by the new industrial towns of Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds. Competition from the Yorkshire woollen industry and then from Lancashire cotton was severe.
In the 19th cent., Norfolk became something of a backwater, though connected by rail to London in the 1840s via Cambridge or Colchester. The growth of seaside holidays brought modest prosperity to Hunstanton, Cromer, and Sheringham and the Broads developed from the 1870s as a playground. Pevsner wrote in 1962 that parts of Norfolk remained curiously secluded, ‘with many stretches and patches so remote that one cannot believe one is only one hundred miles from London’. But in more recent decades the pace has quickened as industry diversified—Colman's mustard, Matthews's turkeys, the Norwich Union—and the flight from London gathered pace. Population growth is well above the national average and Norfolk once more faces the problems of areas of outstanding beauty and tranquillity in a teeming nation.
J. A. Cannon
Norfolk: Education and Research
Norfolk: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Norfolk Public School District is noted for its ethnic and racial diversity, largely as a result of the local military presence. Norfolk schools offer many special programs, such as gifted and special education programs and also utilize community-based education to reify the academic concepts being taught in classes. For example, Norfolk Public School District students have developed an artificial reef and grown their own oysters in conjunction with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its Oyster Restoration Program. The innovations and improvements in the district received statewide attention in May 2004 with the selection of the superintendent, Dr. John Simpson, as Virginia Superintendent of the Year.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Norfolk public school system as of the 2003–2004 school year.
Total enrollment: 36,724
Number of facilities elementary schools: 35
junior high/middle schools: 8
senior high schools: 5
Student/teacher ratio: 11:1
Funding per pupil: $7,403
The area is also host to a variety of specialized education programs, from private schools founded in a particular religion, to Headstart programs, to technical/vocational schools.
Public Schools Information: Norfolk Public Schools, 800 E. City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510; telephone (757)628-3843
Colleges and Universities
Norfolk is home to a number of institutions of higher learning that span the spectrum of vocational specialty schools, community colleges, and colleges or universities. Old Dominion University is a public coeducational school and a sea- and space-grant institution with a combined undergraduate and graduate enrollment of about 20,802 students. From baccalaureate to doctoral programs, Old Dominion grants degrees in education, liberal arts, business and public administration, sciences, health sciences, engineering, and technology. The university capitalizes on its proximity to the naval base and the Virginia Space Flight Center on Wallops Island, creating fieldwork experiences that contribute to those industries.
Virginia Wesleyan College, with 1,400 students, is a private liberal arts college that emphasizes the value of gaining real-world experience through internships, field work, study abroad, and community service. The college offers baccalaureate degrees in various divisions of the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, and the social sciences.
Norfolk State University is one of the largest predominantly African American institutions in the United States, with an enrollment approaching 8,000 students. It has undergraduate schools in business, education, liberal arts, social work, and science and technology, as well as 18 graduate departments.
The Eastern Virginia Medical School is a public institution with its main campus at Norfolk's Eastern Virginia Medical Center. It has 2,565 students enrolled in a selection of medical degree programs that lead to careers as physician's assistants, nurses, doctors, and researchers. The school is supported by a teaching hospital, a model that the Norfolk General Hospital also employs.
At ITT Technical Institute, students are enrolled in baccalaureate and associate degree programs in information technology, electronics technology, drafting and design, business, and criminal justice.
Libraries and Research Centers
The more than 100 year old Norfolk Public Library system contains nearly 1 million books and subscribes to more than 1,250 periodicals. It serves patrons through 12 branches and a bookmobile. The library has special sections on African-American literature, business, juvenile literature, and local history. Within the next 10 years, the Norfolk Public Library plans to upgrade neighborhood branch facilities, renovate or rebuild the main library, and increase its efforts in the area of child literacy.
The city's Chrysler Museum of Art houses the Jean Outland Chrysler Library, containing 80,000 books, with special emphasis on Western European and American painting, drawing, sculpture, Art Nouveau decorative arts, textiles, glass, art history, and photography. The library's archives are home to many treasures, not the least of which is Mark Twain's original typescript of a speech he delivered at the Tricentennial Exposition of 1907 in Jamestown.
MacArthur Memorial Library and Archives has special collections on the life of American General Douglas MacArthur, who is buried nearby, and on American wars in the first half of the twentieth century. The U.S. Navy's Submarine Force Library and Archives has 6,000 volumes focusing on submarine development, salvage and history. The Joint Forces Staff College Library, with 113,000 scholarly volumes and periodicals, is available only to military personnel.
There are also college libraries at Virginia Wesleyan College, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University. Medical libraries are found at the local hospitals, at Norfolk Psychiatric Center, and at Eastern Virginia Medical School. The Norfolk Law Library provides legal reference material to the public, lawyers and the courts.
Specialized research facilities include the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, which focuses on the study of human reproduction, and Old Dominion University, which is home to a diverse collection of research facilities ranging from the Langley Full-Scale Wind Tunnel to the Center for Advanced Ship Repair and Maintenance. Old Dominion University's Office of Research acts as a clearing house for research efforts centralized at the university.
Marine and naval research facilities abound within Naval Station Norfolk, including a laboratory that focuses on specific medical issues related to service in a submarine.
Public Library Information: Norfolk Public Library, 301 E. City Hall Avenue, Norfolk, VA 23510; telephone (757)664-4000
Norfolk, Virginia, was established in 1680, making it one of the first towns established in the colony. It received a royal charter in 1736, making it an independent borough with local governance and allowing property holders to elect a representative to the assembly. During the decades leading to the American Revolution, Norfolk was a primary commercial port for the colonies. Because of its geographical location and spacious harbor as well as its many docks, warehouses, and commercial agents it dominated the colonial trade with the West Indies. Products such as beef, pork, tobacco, lumber, and especially grains such as wheat and corn were exported through Norfolk.
In 1791 the town's total population was 2,959, with 1,604 whites, 1,294 slaves, and 61 free blacks. By the turn of the nineteenth century, Norfolk's population had surged to 6,926 residents, including 3,850 whites, 2,724 slaves, and 352 free blacks. In 1810 the population increased to 9,193, with 4,776 whites, 3,825 slaves, and 592 free blacks. Over the next decade, the number of Norfolk inhabitants decreased to 8,608, comprising 4,748 whites, 3,261 slaves, and 599 free blacks. In 1830 the borough could boast of 9,814 residents, including 5,130 whites, 3,756 slaves, and 928 free blacks.
During the Revolutionary era, Norfolkians protested the Stamp Act of 1765, formed their own Sons of Liberty, and in 1774 established a committee of public safety in response to the Intolerable Acts of that year. Support for the Patriots had diminished by the fall of 1775, however, when Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, took control of the borough with little resistance as thousands pledged their oath of allegiance to the king. But at the Battle of Great Bridge, eight miles south of Norfolk, Virginia militiamen on 9 December 1775 defeated the British under Dunmore's command and forced their evacuation from the borough. Seeking revenge, on 1 January 1776 Dunmore bombarded the port. Before leaving Norfolk, militiamen set fires to Loyalist businesses and houses, contributing to the destruction of 90 percent of the town.
By the turn of the century the citizens had rebuilt Norfolk, maintaining its place as the largest town in Virginia and prospering in what was a primary commercial port. In 1801 the federal government established a navy yard at nearby Gosport. Navigation, nonintercourse, and embargo laws over the next two decades damaged Norfolk's economic prosperity by restricting trade to foreign ports. In the years following the War of 1812, Norfolk's role in the national economy markedly diminished, with New York emerging as the country's dominant commercial port. Although Norfolk would not regain its colonial trade preeminence, residents worked to expand the city's economic fortunes with internal improvements by investing in railroads, completing the Dismal Swamp Canal in 1829, and building the first dry dock in America at the Gosport Naval Yard in 1833.
See alsoCity Growth and Development .
Bogger, Tommy L. Free Blacks in Norfolk, Virginia, 1790–1860: The Darker Side of Freedom. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.
Parramore, Thomas C., Peter C. Stewart, and Tommy Bogger. Norfolk: The First Four Centuries. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994.
Squires, W. H. T. Through the Years in Norfolk: Historical Norfolk—1636–1936. Norfolk: Norfolk Advertising Board, 1936.
John G. Deal
NORFOLK , central city of the Tidewater region of S.E. Virginia, noted for maritime activities and the presence of U.S. military bases. Its Jewish population in 2001 was 11,000.
The first-known Jewish settler in Norfolk, Moses *Myers (1752–1835) arrived in 1787 and became one of the city's leading merchants. The home he erected is on display as part of the city's Chrysler Museum of Art.
From the beginning of their existence as an organized community, Norfolk's Jews created a network of synagogues. German immigrants founded the city's first congregation in 1844, Ohev Sholom. In 1850 a traditionalist faction seceded and founded Beth El congregation, which later became an original member of the United Synagogue of America. East European immigrants created several Orthodox congregations, which united after World War ii as B'nai Israel. Migration from the North, connected to the economic growth of Norfolk during World War ii, and movement from older neighborhoods into newer and suburban areas, resulted in the formation of new congregations: Temple Israel (Conservative) in 1953 and Beth Chaverim (Reform) in 1982. After a successful, city-sponsored revitalization of Norfolk's downtown commercial and residential areas in the 1980s, the synagogues there rebounded, and a Chabad center, first opened in Virginia Beach in 1980, moved downtown in 2002.
After World War ii, Norfolk Jewry, now predominantly American-born, asserted itself by creating a network of communal institutions: the Jewish Family Services in 1948; the Jewish Community Council in 1950, which grew into the United Jewish Federation; the Jewish Community Center, 1952, and the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, a community day school, in 1954. Later institutions include the Beth Sholom [nursing] Home of Eastern Virginia, founded in 1980, and the Torah Day School, an Orthodox yeshivah, in 2003. Spurred by the philanthropic response to the Six-Day War, the United Jewish Federation grew into the central address of the community by the 1970s.
Postwar Jewish residential patterns, and consequent institutional developments, followed national demographic trends. Small towns close to Norfolk, such as Berkley and Portsmouth, lost all or most of their Jewish residents, and newer suburbs grew. While some Jews were at the forefront of the local civil rights struggle of the 1950s, many Jews moved into the neighboring suburb of Virginia Beach after court-ordered school desegregation in 1959. In 1974, the Hebrew Academy moved to a Virginia Beach location and in 2004 the United Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center of Tidewater, along with the Hebrew Academy, relocated to a Virginia Beach campus.
Although Jews had suffered social discrimination prior to World War ii, the Jewish community gained increasing social acceptance in the two generations following. Whereas a descendant of Moses Myers, Barton Myers, Sr., mayor of Norfolk from 1886 to 1888, had been raised as a Christian, the mayor of Virginia Beach from 1988, Meyera Oberndorf, was a professing Jew. Jews were prominently active in Norfolk's urban redevelopment work and a variety of general as well as Jewish philanthropic causes throughout the region.
[Michael Panitz (2nd ed.)]
Norfolk: Population Profile
Norfolk: Population Profile
Metropolitan Area Residents
2003 estimate: 1,630,242
Percent change, 1990–2000: 8.4%
U.S. rank in 1990: 27th
U.S. rank in 2000: 33rd
2003 estimate: 241,727
Percent change, 1990–2000: -10.2 %
U.S. rank in 1990: 75th (State rank: 2nd)
U.S. rank in 2000: 72nd (State rank: 2nd)
Density: 4,362.8 people per square mile (2000)
Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 103,387
American Indian and Alaska Native: 1,071
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 251
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 8,915
Percent of residents born in state: 48.9% (2000)
Age characteristics (2000)
Poplation under 5 years old: 16,546
Poplation 5 to 9 years old: 16,508
Poplation 10 to 14 years old: 15,072
Population 15 to 19 years old: 18,926
Poplation 20 to 24 years old: 31,983
Poplation 25 to 34 years old: 36,620
Poplation 35 to 44 years old: 33,569
Poplation 45 to 54 years old: 25,010
Poplation 55 to 59 years old: 8,143
Poplation 60 to 64 years old: 6,494
Poplation 65 to 74 years old: 12,979
Poplation 75 to 84 years old: 9,693
Population 85 years and over: 2,860
Median age: 29.6 years (2000)
Total number: 3,942
Total number: 2,729 (of which, 53 were infants under the age of 1 year)
Money income (1999)
Per capita income: $17,372 Median household income: $31,815 Total households: 86,178
Number of households with income of . . .
less than $10,000: 12,024
$10,000 to $14,999: 6,883
$15,000 to $24,999: 14,465
$25,000 to $34,999: 13,470
$35,000 to $49,999: 15,232
$50,000 to $74,999: 13,402
$75,000 to $99,999: 5,264
$100,000 to $149,999: 3,318
$150,000 to $199,999: 915
$200,000 or more: 1,205
Percent of families below poverty level: 15.5% (30.5% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,476
Norfolk: Geography and Climate
Norfolk: Population Profile
Norfolk: Municipal Government
Norfolk: Education and Research
Norfolk: Health Care
Norfolk: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1682 (incorporated 1705)
Head Official: Mayor Paul D. Fraim (I) (since 1994)
2003 estimate: 241,727
Percent change, 1990–2000: -10.2%
U.S. rank in 1990: 75th (State rank: 2nd)
U.S. rank in 2000: 72nd (State rank: 2nd)
Metropolitan Area Population (MSA)
Percent change, 1990–2000: 8.4%
U.S. rank in 1990: 27th
U.S. rank in 2000: 33rd
Area: 53.73 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 13 feet above sea level
Average Annual Temperature: 59.57° F;
Average Annual Precipitation: 43.89 inches total; 7.5 inches of snowfall
Major Economic Sectors: Services, trade, government
Unemployment rate: 4.0% (December 2004)
Per Capita Income: $17,372 (1999)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 15,476
Major Colleges and Universities: Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, Virginia Wesleyan College, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Troy State University, Tidewater Community College
Daily Newspaper: The Virginian-Pilot