Posts Tagged ‘VA’

Buying a Home in Virginia Beach

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Beginning in the late 19th century, the small resort area of Virginia Beach grew in Princess Anne County , particularly afterwards the 1888 arrival of electricity and rail service and the opening of the original Princess Anne Hotel at the oceanfront near the tiny community of Seatack. In 1891, guests at the new hotel watched the wreck and rescue efforts of the United States Life-Saving Service for the Norwegian bark Dictator. The ship’s figurehead, which washed up on the beach several days later, was erected as a modest monument to the victims and rescuers along the oceanfront for more than 50 years, and later became the inspiration for the current matching Norwegian Lady Monuments in Virginia Beach and Moss, Norway, sculpted by Ørnulf Bast.  

Although the resort was initially dependent upon railroad and electric trolley service, the completion of Virginia Beach Boulevard in 1922, which prolonged from Norfolk to the oceanfront, opened the way for buses automobiles , trucks, and passenger rail service, the latter of which was eventually discontinued. The growing resort of Virginia Beach became an unified town in 1906. Over the next 45 years, Virginia Beach continued to grow in popularity as a seasonal vacation spot, and casinos gave way to amusement parks and family-oriented attractions. The Cavilier Hotel opened in 1927 and became a popular vacation spot. Virginia Beach became politically independent of Princess Anne County as an independent city in 1952, although the numerous ties between Virginia Beach and Princess Anne remained. In 1963, after approval by referendum of the voters of the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County, and with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, the two political subdivisions were consolidated as a new, much larger independent city, retaining the better-known name of the Virginia Beach resort.

Real estate, defense , and tourism are major sectors of the Virginia Beach economy, but the city has begun to run out of clear land available for new construction above the Green Line, an urban growth boundary dividing the urban northern and rural southern sections of the city.

 

As such, while Virginia Beach does not have a redevelopment authority, local public and private groups have maintained a vested interest in real-estate redevelopment, resulting in a number of joint public-private projects such as commercial parks. Examples of this are the Oceanfront Hilton Hotel, the Virginia Beach Convention Center , and the Virginia Beach Town Center. Using tax growth financing through creation of special tax districts and street and infrastructure construction, the City was able to assist in financing the projects making them a reality. The Town Center opened in 2003 and still has construction taking place, while the Convention Center opened in 2005.

The Alan B. Shepard Civic Center (“The Dome”), a significant building in the city’s history, was constructed in 1958, was dedicated to the career of former Virginia Beach resident and astronaut Alan Shepard, and was the first geodesic dome building constructed in the continental United States — based on the design work of Buckminster Fuller. The building was razed in 1994 to make room for a municipal parking lot and potential hereafter development.

Infill and development of residential neighborhoods has situated a number of operating constraints on Naval Air Station Oceana, a major fighter jet base for the U.S. Navy. While the airbase currently enjoys wide support

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Relocating to Richmond, VA

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The Powhatan tribe had lived in the region before 1607 . For centuries, the tribe recognized the value of this site, rich in natural beauty, and had one of their capitals here, also known as Powhatan. They knew it as a place to fish, hunt , play, and trade , and they also called it Shocquohocan, or Shockoe.

In 1606, James I granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London to settle colonists in North America After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in April 1607, at Jamestown, Captain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James River, and on May 24, 1607, erected a cross on one of the small islands in the middle of the part of the river

that runs through today’s downtown area.

The first English settlement within the present limits of the city was made in 1609

 

by Francis West at the falls, in the district known as Rockett’s and was known as “West Fort”. Captain John Smith then bought the fortified Powhatan village on the north bank of the river from chief Parahunt, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the fort. He named this tract Nonesuch, but the English garrison soon abandoned the entire area after attacks by the Powhatans.Lord de la Warre made a second attempt to buils a fort at the falls in 1610 , which managed to last all winter, but was then likewise abandoned.

In 1645, Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James  – the highest navigable point of the James River – as a frontier defense. New settlers moved in, and the community grew into a bustling trading post forhides, fur , and tobacco. Col. David Crawford, a Virginia Burgess, owned much of the land in the mid-1600s that would become Richmond.

In 1673, William Byrd I was granted lands on the James River that included the area around Falls that would become Richmond and already included small settlements . Byrd was a well-connected Indian trader in the area and established a fort on the site. William Byrd II inherited his father’s land in 1704 , and in 1737 founded the town of Richmond at the Falls of the James and commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid. Mayo divided the town into four-lot thirty-two squares, and immediately outside of town limits there were larger plots of land which were to be sold as the future sites for suburban villas. Byrd named the city Richmond after the English town of Richmond near (and now part of) London, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth. The settlement was laid out in April 1737, and was incorporated as a town in 1742.

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Real Estate in Roanoke

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

In the 1850s, Big Lick became a stop on the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad (V&T) which linked Lynchburg with Bristol on the Virginia-Tennessee border.

After the American Civil War (1861–1865), William Mahone, a civil engineer and hero of the Battle of the Crater, was the campaign force in the linkage of 3 railroads, including the V&T, across the southern tier of Virginia to form the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad (AM&O), a new line extending from Norfolk to Bristol, Virginia in 1870. However, the Financial Panic of 1873 wrecked the AM&O’s cash in hand. Mahone role as a railroad builder ended in 1881 after several years of operating under receiverships, when northern financial interests took control. At the foreclosure auction, the AM&O was purchased by E.W. Clark and Co., a private banking firm in Philadelphia which controlled the Shenandoah Valley Railroad then under construction up the valley from Hagerstown, Maryland. The AM&O was renamed Norfolk and Western Railway (N&W).

Frederick J. Kimball, a civil engineer and partner in the Clark firm, headed the new line and the new Shenandoah Valley Railroad. For the junction for the Shenandoah Valley and the Norfolk and Western roads, Kimball and his board of directors selected the small Virginia village called Big Lick, on the Roanoke River. Although the grateful citizens offered to rename their town “Kimball”, at his suggestion, they agreed to name it Roanoke after the river. As the N&W brought people and jobs, the Town of Roanoke quickly became an independent city in 1884. In fact, Roanoke became a city so quickly that it earned the nickname “Magic City”.

Kimball’s interest in geology was instrumental in the development of the Pocahontas coalfields in western Virginia and West Virginia. He pushed N&W lines through the wilds of West Virginia, north to Columbus, Ohio and Cincinnati, Ohio, and south to Durham, North Carolina and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This gave the railroad the route structure it was to use for more than 60 years.

The Virginian Railway (VGN), an engineering marvel of its day, was conceived and built by William Nelson Page and Henry Huttleston Rogers. Following the Roanoke River, the VGN was built through the City of Roanoke early in the twentieth century. It merged with the N&W in 1959.

The opening of the coalfields made N&W flourishing and Pocahontas bituminous coal world-famous. Transported by the N&W and neighboring Virginian Railway (VGN), local coal fueled half the world’s navies. Today it stokes steel mills and power plants all over the globe.

The Norfolk & Western was famous for manufacturing steam locomotives in-house. It was N&W’s Roanoke Shops that made the company known industry-wide for its excellence in steam power. The Roanoke Shops, with its workforce of thousands, is where the famed classes A, J, and Y6 locomotives were designed, built, and maintained. New steam locomotives were built there until 1953 , long after diesel-electric had emerged as the motive power of choice for most North American railroads. About 1960, N&W was the last major railroad in the United States to convert from steam to diesel power.

The presence of the railroad also made Roanoke attractive to manufacturers. American Viscose open a large rayon plant in Southeast Roanoke in October 1917. This plant closed in 1958, leaving 5,000 workers unemployed. When N&W reborn to diesel, 2,000 railroad workers were laid off.

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Real Estate in Richmond

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 , the strategic location of the Tredegar Iron Works was one of the primary factors in the decision to make Richmond the Capital of the Confederacy. From this arsenal came the 723 tons of armor plating that covered the CSS Virginia, the world’s first ironclad used in war, as well as much of the Confederates’ heavy ordnance machinery. In February 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama, the first Confederate capital. In the early morning of April 12, 1861, the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, beginning the Civil War. Virginia seceded from the United states and joined Confederate States on April 17, 1861 , and soon thereafter the Confederate government moved its capital to Richmond. The Confederate Congress shared quarters with the Virginia General Assembly in the Virginia State Capitol, and the Confederacy’s executive mansion, the “White House of the Confederacy”, was two blocks away in the upscale Court End neighborhood.

In late June and early July 1862 The Seven Days Battle followed . During this time Union General McClellan threatened to take Richmond but ultimately failed, 3 years later, on April 2, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army captured Richmond, and the state capital was then relocated to Danville. Six days later, Robert E. Lee’s retreating Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, symbolically ending the war. On April 2, 1865, about 25% of the city’s buildings were destroyed in a fire set by retreating Confederate soldiers . Union soldiers put out the fires as they entered the city. President Lincoln left Washington for Richmond immediately upon hearing of the city’s capture, arriving on April 4 with the city still smoldering from the fires.Lincoln wanted to make a public gesture of sitting at Jefferson Davis’s own desk, symbolically saying to the nation that the President of the United States held authority over the entire land. He was greeted at the city as a conquering hero by freed slaves, whose sentiments were epitomized by one admirer’s quote, “I know I am free, for I have seen the face of Father Abraham and have felt him.”When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, Lincoln replied, “Let ’em up easy.” Unfortunately, just ten days later, on April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth.

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Moving to Virginia Beach, VA

Monday, February 14th, 2011

In 1607, after a voyage of 144 days , three ships headed by Captain Christopher Newport carrying 105 men and boys made their first landfall in the New World where the Atlantic Ocean meets the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in the northeastern part of the city. They named it Cape Henry, after Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James I of England. However, these English colonists of the Virginia Company of London left the area, as they were under orders to seek a site further inland which would be more sheltered from ships of competing European countries. They created their first permanent settlement at Jamestown.

One of the earliest Englishmen to settle in the area which became Virginia Beach was Adam Thoughroghgood .He became an indentured servant to pay for passage to the Virginia Colony atthe age of 18 . He earned his freedom and became a leading citizen of the area. In 1629, he was elected to the House of Burgesses for Elizabeth Cittie sic, one of four “citties” (or incorporations) which were subdivided areas established in 1619.

The coloney was divided into the original eight shires of Virginia in 1634 , soon renamed as counties. Thoroughgood is credited with using the name of his home in England when helping name “New Norfolk County” in 1637. The following year, New Norfolk County was split into Upper Norfolk County (soon renamed Nansemond County) and Lower Norfolk County. Thoroughgood’s choice of residence after 1634 was along the Lynnhaven River, also named for his home in England. Lower Norfolk County was quite large, and stretched all the way from the Atlantic Ocean west past the Elizabeth River, encompassing the entire area now within the modern cities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.

Lower Norfolk County was divided to form Norfolk County and Princess Anne County in 1691 . Princess Anne, the easternmost county in South Hampton Roads, extended northward from the North Carolina border to Cape Henry at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and included all of the area fronting the Atlantic Ocean. Princess Anne County was to last from 1691 to 1963, over 250 years.

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