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Berkley North Historic District
U.S. Historic district
East Berkley Avenue (Norfolk).jpg
Location Roughly bounded by Bellamy Ave., Pescara Creek, Berkley Ave., and I-464, Norfolk, Virginia
Area 86 acres (35 ha)
Built 1890 (1890)
Architect Volk, L.B.; et al.
Architectural style Mid 19th Century Revival, Late Victorian, et al.
NRHP reference No. 00001440
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 22, 2000

Berkley was an incorporated town in Norfolk County, Virginia. Chartered by an Act of Assembly in 1890, the Town of Berkley was located directly across the Eastern Branch Elizabeth River from the City of Norfolk in the South Hampton Roads area.

History

In the 18th century, Berkley developed port facilities and a shipyard on the Elizabeth River across from Norfolk. In the 19th century, it was the rail terminus of the original Norfolk Southern Railway, a regional railroad extending 600 miles to Charlotte, North Carolina (and a predecessor of the modern Norfolk Southern rail system headquartered in Norfolk).

Both the Town of Berkley and Norfolk County are extinct as jurisdictions. Fearing annexation ambitions by its larger neighbor, the City of Norfolk, in the late 19th century, the town leaders petitioned the Virginia General Assembly to become an independent city (which would have created immunity from annexation), but the effort failed. On January 1, 1906, the Town of Berkley was annexed by the City of Norfolk, and is now considered a neighborhood of that city. (Remaining portions of Norfolk County were consolidated with the City of South Norfolk in 1963 to form the City of Chesapeake).

In the 21st century, the Berkley Bridge on I-264 links Berkley with the downtown area of Norfolk. It is one of a few drawbridges on the Interstate Highway System. Berkley also is the site of the juncture of the Downtown Tunnel (across the river to Portsmouth) and Interstate 464 (leading to Chesapeake).

Berkley North Historic District

The Berkley North Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. It encompasses 255 contributing buildings in one of southeast Virginia's oldest and most diverse communities, now part of the City of Norfolk. It includes a variety of early-20th century commercial and residential architecture, some of it designed by the area's most important firms. Notable buildings include the Lycurgus Berkley House (c. 1873), Norfleet House (1900), St. James Episcopal Church and adjacent chapel, Antioch Baptist church, Berkley Avenue Baptist Church (1885-1888), Merchants' and Planters' Bank, Seaboard Bank Building (1921), former Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Mary Hardy MacArthur Memorial.

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