Newport News, Virginia facts for kids
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Newport News, Virginia
|City of Newport News|
The downtown Newport News skyline as seen from 26th Street and I-664 overpass in August 2013
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
|• Independent city||300 km2 (120 sq mi)|
|• Land||180 km2 (69 sq mi)|
|• Water||130 km2 (51 sq mi) 42.4%|
|Elevation||4.5 m (15 ft)|
|• Independent city||183,412|
|• Density||1,013/km2 (2,623/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1497043|
Newport News is an independent city located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 180,719. In 2013, the population was estimated to be 183,412, making it the fifth-most populous city in Virginia.
Newport News is included in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the northern shore of the James River extending southeast from Skiffe's Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river's mouth at Newport News Point on the harbor of Hampton Roads. The area now known as Newport News was once a part of Warwick County. Warwick County was one of the eight original shires of Virginia, formed by the House of Burgesses in the British Colony of Virginia by order of King Charles I, in 1634. The county was largely composed of farms and undeveloped land until almost 250 years later.
In 1881, 15 years of explosive development began under the leadership of Collis P. Huntington, whose new Peninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway from Richmond opened up transportation along the Peninsula and provided a new pathway for the railroad to bring West Virginia bituminous coal to port for coastal shipping and worldwide export. With the new railroad came a terminal and coal piers where the colliers were loaded. Within a few years, Huntington and his associates also built a large shipyard. In 1896, the new incorporated town of Newport News, which had briefly replaced Denbigh as the county seat of Warwick County, had a population of 9,000. In 1958, by mutual consent by referendum, Newport News was consolidated with the former Warwick County (itself a separate city from 1952 to 1958), rejoining the two localities to approximately their pre-1896 geographic size. The more widely known name of Newport News was selected as they formed what was then Virginia's third largest independent city in population.
With many residents employed at the expansive Newport News Shipbuilding, the joint U.S. Air Force-U.S. Army installation at Joint Base Langley–Eustis, and other military bases and suppliers, the city's economy is very connected to the military. The location on the harbor and along the James River facilitates a large boating industry which can take advantage of its many miles of waterfront. Newport News also serves as a junction between the rails and the sea with the Newport News Marine Terminals located at the East End of the city. Served by major east-west Interstate Highway 64, it is linked to others of the cities of Hampton Roads by the circumferential Hampton Roads Beltway, which crosses the harbor on two bridge-tunnels. Part of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is in the city limits.
The original area near the mouth of the James River was first referred to as Newportes Newes as early as 1621.
The source of the name "Newport News" is not known with certainty. Several versions are recorded, and it is the subject of popular speculation locally. Probably the best-known explanation holds that when an early group of Jamestown colonists left to return to England after the Starving Time during the winter of 1609–1610 aboard a ship of Captain Christopher Newport, they encountered another fleet of supply ships under the new Governor Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr in the James River off Mulberry Island with reinforcements of men and supplies. The new governor ordered them to turn around, and return to Jamestown. Under this theory, the community was named for Newport's "good news". Another possibility is that the community may have derived its name from an old English word "news" meaning "new town". At least one source claims that the "New" arose from the original settlement's being rebuilt after a fire.
Another source gave the original name as New Port Newce, named for a person with the name Newce and the town's place as a new seaport. The namesake, Sir William Newce, was an English soldier and originally settled in Ireland. There he had established Newcestown near Bandon, County Cork. He sailed to Virginia with Sir Francis Wyatt in October 1621 and was granted 2,500 acres (1,012 ha) of land. He died two days later. His brother, Capt. Thomas Newce, was given "600 acres at Kequatan, now called Elizabeth Cittie." A partner Daniel Gookin completed founding the settlement.
... several old maps where the name is given as Newport Ness, being the mariner's way of saying Newport Point.
The fact that the name formerly appeared as "Newport's News" is verified by numerous early documents and maps, and by local tradition. The change to Newport News came about through usage, for by 1851 the Post Office Department sanctioned "New Port News" (three words) as the name of the first post office. In 1866 it approved the name as "Newport News", the current form.
During the 17th century, shortly after founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. In 1610, Sir Thomas Gates "took possession" of a nearby Native American village, which became known as Kecoughtan. At that time, settlers began clearing land along the James River (the navigable part of which was called Hampton Roads) for plantations, including the present area of Newport News.
In 1619, the area of Newport News was included in one of four huge corporations of the Virginia Company of London. It became known as Elizabeth Cittie and extended west all the way to Skiffe's Creek (currently the border between Newport News and James City County). Elizabeth Cittie included all of present-day South Hampton Roads.
By 1634, the English colony of Virginia consisted of a population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. It was divided into eight shires of Virginia, which were renamed as counties shortly thereafter. The area of Newport News became part of Warwick River Shire, which became Warwick County in 1637. By 1810, the county seat was at Denbigh. For a short time in the mid-19th century, the county seat was moved to Newport News.
Newport News was a rural area of plantations and a small fishing village until after the American Civil War. Construction of the railroad and establishment of the great shipyard brought thousands of workers and associated development. It was one of only a few cities in Virginia to be newly established without earlier incorporation as a town. (Virginia has had an independent city political subdivision since 1871.) Walter A. Post served as the city's first mayor.
The area that formed the present-day southern end of Newport News had long been established as an unincorporated town. During Reconstruction, the period after the American Civil War, the new City of Newport News was essentially founded by California merchant Collis P. Huntington. Huntington, one of the Big Four associated with the Central Pacific Railroad, in California, formed the western part of the country's First Transcontinental Railroad. He was recruited by former Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham to become a major investor and guiding light for a southern railroad. He helped complete the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to the Ohio River in 1873.
Huntington knew the railroad could transport coal eastbound from West Virginia's untapped natural resources. His agents began acquiring land in Warwick County in 1865. In the 1880s, he oversaw extension of the C&O's new Peninsula Subdivision, which extended from the Church Hill Tunnel in Richmond southeast down the peninsula through Williamsburg to Newport News, where the company developed coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads.
His next project was to develop Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, which became the world's largest shipyard. Opened as Chesapeake Dry Dock & Construction Company, the shipbuilding was intended to build boats to transition goods from the rails to the seas. With president Theodore Roosevelt's declaration to create a Great White Fleet, the company entered the warship business by building seven of the first sixteen warships. Today, the shipyard holds a dominant position in the American warship construction business.
In addition to Collis, other members of the Huntington family played major roles in Newport News. From 1912 to 1914, his nephew, Henry E. Huntington, assumed leadership of the shipyard. Huntington Park, developed after World War I near the northern terminus of the James River Bridge, is named for him.
Collis Huntington's son, Archer M. Huntington and his wife, sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, developed the Mariners' Museum beginning in 1932. They created a natural park and the community's Lake Maury in the process. A major feature of Newport News, the Mariners' Museum has grown to become one of the largest and finest maritime museums in the world.
In 1958, the citizenry of the cities of Warwick and Newport News voted by referendum to consolidate the two cities, choosing to assume the better-known name of Newport News. The merger created the third largest city by population in Virginia, with a 65 square miles (168 km2) area. The boundaries of the City of Newport News today are essentially the boundaries of the original Warwick River Shire and the traditional one of Warwick County, with the exception of minor border adjustments with neighbors.
The city's original downtown area, on the James River waterfront, changed rapidly from a farm trading town to a new city in the last quarter of the 19th century. Development of the railroad terminal, with its coal piers, other harbor-related facilities, and the shipyard, brought new jobs and workers to the area. Although fashionable housing and businesses developed in downtown, the increase in industry and the development of new suburbs pushed and pulled retail and residential development to the west and north after World War II. Such suburban development was aided by national subsidization of highway construction and was part of a national trend to newer housing.
In July 1989 the United States Navy commissioned the third naval vessel named after the city with the entry of the Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine USS NEWPORT NEWS (SSN-750), built at Newport News Shipbuilding, into active service.
The ship was initially commanded by CDR. Mark B. Keef; the city held a public celebration of the event, which was attended by Vice President of the United States Dan Quayle. In conjunction with this milestone, a song was written by a city native and formally adopted by Newport News City Council in July 1989. The lyrics appear with permission from the author:
(First verse): Harbor of a thousand ships/Forger of a nation's fleet/Gateway to the New World/Where ocean and river meet
(Chorus): Strength wrought from steel/And a people's fortitude/Such is the timeless legacy/Of a place called Newport News
(Second verse): Nestled in a blessed land/Gifted with a special view/Forever home for ev'ry man/With a spirit proud and true
(repeat chorus to fade)
Despite city efforts at large-scale revitalization, by the beginning of the 21st century the downtown area consisted largely of the coal export facilities, the shipyard, and municipal offices. It is bordered by some harbor-related smaller businesses and lower income housing.
Newport News grew in population from the 1960s through the 1990s. The city began to explore New Urbanism as a way to develop areas midtown. City Center at Oyster Point was developed out of a small portion of the Oyster Point Business Park. It opened in phases from 2003 through 2005. The city invested $82 million of public funding in the project. Closely following Oyster Point, Port Warwick opened as an urban residential community in the new midtown business district. Fifteen hundred people now reside in the Port Warwick area. It includes a 3-acre (1.2 ha) city square where festivals and events take place.
Newport News is located at United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 120 square miles (310 km2), of which 69 square miles (180 km2) is land and 51 square miles (130 km2) (42.4%) is water.(37.071046, −76.484557). According to the
The city is located at the Peninsula side of Hampton Roads in the Tidewater region of Virginia, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Statistical Area (officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA) is the 37th largest in the nation with a 2014 population estimate of 1,716,624. The area includes the Virginia cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York, as well as the North Carolina counties of Currituck and Gates. Newport News serves as one of the business centers on the Peninsula. The city of Norfolk is recognized as the central business district, while the Virginia Beach oceanside resort district and Williamsburg are primarily centers of tourism.
Newport News shares land borders with James City County on the northwest, York County on the north and northeast, and Hampton on the east. Newport News shares water borders with Portsmouth on the southeast and Suffolk on the south across Hampton Roads, and Isle of Wight County on the southwest and west and Surry County on the northwest across the James River.
The city's downtown area was part of the earliest developed area which was initially incorporated as an independent city in 1896. The earlier city portions also included the "Southeast" community, which was predominantly African-American, the "North End" and the shipyard and coal piers. After World War II, public housing projects and lower income housing were built to improve housing in what came to be known as the East End or "The Bottom" by locals. The city expanded primarily westward where land was available and highways were built. While the shipyard and coal facilities, and other smaller harbor-oriented businesses have remained vibrant, the downtown area went into substantial decline. Crime problems have plagued the nearby lower-income residential areas.
West of the traditional downtown area, another early portion of the city was developed as Huntington Heights. In modern times been called the North End. Developed primarily between 1900 and 1935, North End features a wealth of architectural styles and eclectic vernacular building designs. Extending along west to the James River Bridge approaches, it includes scenic views of the river. A well-preserved community, the North End is an historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
The 1958 merger by mutual agreement with the City of Warwick removed the political boundary, which was adjacent to Mercury Boulevard. This major north-south roadway carries U.S. Route 258 between the James River Bridge and the Coliseum-Central area of adjacent Hampton. At the time, the county was mostly rural, although along Warwick Boulevard north of the Mercury Boulevard, Hilton Village was developed during World War I as a planned community. Beyond this point to the west, much of the city takes on a suburban nature. Many neighborhoods have been developed, some around a number of former small towns. Miles of waterfront along the James River, and tributaries such as Deep Creek and Lucas Creek, are occupied by higher-end single family homes. In many sections, wooded land and farms gave way to subdivisions. Even at the northwestern reaches, furthest from the traditional downtown area, some residential development has occurred. Much land has been set aside for natural protection, with recreational and historical considerations. Along with some newer residential areas, major features of the northwestern end include the reservoirs of the Newport News Water System (which include much of the Warwick River), the expansive Newport News Park, a number of public schools, and the military installations of Fort Eustis and a small portion of the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.
At the extreme northwestern edge adjacent to Skiffe's Creek and the border with James City County is the Lee Hall community, which retains historical features including the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railway station which served tens of thousands of soldiers based at what became nearby Fort Eustis during World War I and World War II. The larger-than-normal rural two-story frame depot is highly valued by rail fans and rail preservationists.
In downtown Newport News, the Victory Arch, built to commemorate the Great War, sits on the downtown waterfront. The "Eternal Flame" under the arch was cast by Womack Foundry, Inc. in the 1960s. It was hand crafted by the Foundry's founder and president, Ernest D. Womack. The downtown area has a number of landmarks and architecturally interesting buildings, which for some time were mostly abandoned in favor of building new areas in the northwest areas of the city (a strategy aided by tax incentives in the postwar years).
City leaders are working to bring new life into this area, by renovating and building new homes and attracting businesses. The completion of Interstate 664 restored the area to access and through traffic which had been largely rerouted with the completion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in 1958 and discontinuance of the Newport News-Norfolk ferry service at that time. The larger capacity Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel and the rebuilt James River Bridge each restored some accessibility and through traffic to the downtown area.
Much of the newer commercial development has been along the Warwick Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue corridors, with newer planned industrial, commercial, and mixed development such as Oyster Point, Kiln Creek and the City Center. While the downtown area had long been the area of the city that offered the traditional urban layout, the city has supported a number of New Urbanism projects. One is Port Warwick, named after the fictional city in William Styron's novel, Lie Down in Darkness. Port Warwick includes housing for a broad variety of citizens, from retired persons to off-campus housing for Christopher Newport University students. Also included are several high-end restaurants and upscale shopping.
City Center at Oyster Point, located near Port Warwick, has been touted as the new "downtown" because of its new geographic centrality on the Virginia Peninsula, its proximity to the retail/business nucleus of the city, etc. Locally, it is often called simply "City Center". Nearby, the Virginia Living Museum recently completed a $22.6 million expansion plan.
Newport News is also home to a small Korean ethnic enclave on Warwick Boulevard near the Denbigh neighborhood on the northern end of the city. Although it lacks the density and character of larger, more established enclaves, it has been referred to as "Little Seoul"—being the commercial center for the Hampton Roads Korean community.
Newport News has many distinctive communities and neighborhoods within its boundaries, including Brandon Heights, Brentwood, City Center, Colony Pines, Christopher Shores-Stuart Gardens, Denbigh, Glendale, East End, Hidenwood, Hilton Village, Hunter's Glenn, Beaconsdale, Ivy Farms, North End Huntington Heights (Historic District – roughly from 50th to 75th street, along the James River), Jefferson Avenue Park, Kiln Creek, Lee Hall, Menchville, Maxwell Gardens, Morrison (also known as Harpersville and Gum Grove), Newmarket Village, Newsome Park, Oyster Point, Parkview, old North Newport News (Center Ave. area), Port Warwick, Richneck, Riverside, Shore Park, Summerlake, Village Green, Windsor Great Park and Warwick. Some of these neighborhoods are located in the former City of Warwick and Warwick County.
Newport News is located in the humid subtropical climate zone, with cool to mild winters, and hot, humid summers. Due to the inland location, throughout the year, highs are 2 to 3 °F (1.1 to 1.7 °C) warmer and lows 1 to 2 °F (0.6 to 1.1 °C) cooler than areas to the southeast. Snowfall averages 5.8 inches (15 cm) per season, and the summer months tend to be slightly wetter. The geographic location of the city, with respect to the principal storm tracks, favours fair weather, as it is south of the average path of storms originating in the higher latitudes, and north of the usual tracks of hurricanes and other major tropical storms.
|Climate data for Newport News, Virginia (1981–2010 normals)|
|Average high °F (°C)||49.5
|Average low °F (°C)||31.8
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.33
|Snowfall inches (cm)||2.4
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.4||9.5||10.6||10.1||10.6||9.9||11.1||10.1||8.8||7.6||8.5||9.8||116.8|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||1.6||1.3||0.4||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.5||3.9|
|Source: NOAA (temperature and total precipitation normals at Newport News Int'l, all others at Norfolk Int'l), HKO (sun only 1961–1990)|
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 180,719 people, 69,686 households, and 46,341 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,637.9 people per square mile (1,018.5/km²). There were 74,117 housing units at an average density of 1,085.3 per square mile (419.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.0% White, 40.7% African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.5% of the population (2.5% Puerto Rican, 2.5% Mexican, 0.4% Cuban, 0.3% Panamanian, 0.2% Dominican, 0.2% Guatemalan, 0.2% Honduran).
There were 69,686 households out of which 35.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.04.
The age distribution is: 27.5% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,597, and the median income for a family was $42,520. Males had a median income of $31,275 versus $22,310 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,843. About 11.3% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.
As with most of Virginia, Newport News is most often associated with the larger American South. People who have grown up in the Hampton Roads area have a unique Tidewater accent which sounds different from a stereotypical Southern accent. Vowels have a longer pronunciation than in a typical southern accent.
Near the city's western end, a historic C&O railroad station, as well as American Civil War battle sites near historic Lee Hall along U.S. Route 60 and several 19th century plantations have all been protected. Many are located along the roads leading to Yorktown and Williamsburg, where many sites of the Historic Triangle are of both American Revolutionary War and Civil War significance. The first modern duel of ironclad warships, the Battle of Hampton Roads, took place not far off Newport News Point in 1862.
Recovered artifacts from USS Monitor are displayed at the Mariners' Museum, one of the more notable museums of its type in the world. The museum's collection totals approximately 32,000 artifacts, international in scope, which include ship models, scrimshaw, maritime paintings, decorative arts, figureheads and engines. The museum also owns and maintains a 550-acre park on which is located the Noland Trail, and the 167-acre Lake Maury.
The Virginia War Museum covers American military history. The museum's collection includes, weapons, vehicles, artifacts, uniforms and posters from various periods of American history. Highlights of the Museum's collection include a section of the Berlin Wall and the outer wall from Dachau Concentration Camp.
The Peninsula Fine Arts Center contains a rotating gallery of art exhibits. The Center also maintains a permanent "Hands on For Kids" gallery designed for children and families to interact in what the Center describes as "a fun, educational environment that encourages participation with art materials and concepts."
The U.S. Army Transportation Museum is a United States Army museum of vehicles and other U.S. Army transportation-related equipment and memorabilia. Located on the grounds of Fort Eustis, The museum reflects the history of the Army, especially of the United States Army Transportation Corps, and includes close to 100 military vehicles such as land vehicles, watercraft and rolling stock, including stock from the Fort Eustis Military Railroad. It is officially dedicated to General Frank S. Besson, Jr., who was the first four-star general to lead the transportation command, and extends over 6 acres (24,000 m2) of land, air and sea vehicles and indoor exhibits. The exhibits cover transportation and its role in US Army operations, including topic areas from the American Revolutionary War through operations in Afghanistan.
The Ferguson Center for the Arts is a theater and concert hall on the campus of Christopher Newport University. The complex fully opened in September 2005 and contains three distinct, separate concert halls: the Concert Hall, the Music and Theatre Hall, and the Studio Theatre.
The Port Warwick area hosts the annual Port Warwick Art and Sculpture Festival where art vendors gather in Styron Square to show and sell their art. Judges have the chance to name art work best of the Festival.
The Virginia Living Museum is an outdoor living museum combining aspects of a native wildlife park, science museum, aquarium, botanical preserve, and planetarium.
Parks and recreation
Newport News Parks is responsible for the maintenance of 32 city parks. The smallest is less than half an acre (2,000 m²). The largest, Newport News Park, is 8,065 acres (32.64 km2), the second-largest city park in the United States. They are scattered throughout the city, from Endview Plantation in the northern end of the city to King-Lincoln Park in the southern end near the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel. The parks offer services to visitors, ranging from traditional park services like camping and fishing to activities like archery and disc golf.
Newport News Park is in the northern part of the city. The city's golf course lies in the park along with camping and outdoor activities. There are over 30 miles (48 km) of trails in the Newport News Park complex. It has a 5.3 miles (8.5 km) multi-use bike path. The park offers bicycle and helmet rental, and requires helmet use by children under 14. Newport News Park offers an archery range, disc golf course, and an "aeromodel flying field" for remote-controlled aircraft, complete with a 400 ft (120 m) runway.
The city supplies two public boat ramps for its citizens: Denbigh Park Boat Ramp and Hilton Pier/Ravine.
Denbigh Park allows access into the Warwick River, a tributary of the James River. Denbigh Park also offers a small fishing pier. Hilton Pier offers a small beach in addition to a ravine. Croaker and trout are the fish primarily caught during the summer months and the pier is accessible to visitors in wheelchairs.
Newport News has three sister cities:
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