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Seatack, Virginia facts for kids

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Seatack, Virginia is a historic neighborhood and community borough of Virginia Beach, Virginia that was located in what used to be Princess Anne County, and is now part of the Oceanfront resort strip and adjacent area of the independent city of Virginia Beach. The Seatack community of Virginia Beach includes an area inland from the resort strip along present-day Virginia Beach Boulevard. Seatack Elementary School is located nearby on Birdneck Road. The 1903 Seatack Station of the United States Lifesaving Service is now the Virginia Beach Surf & Rescue Museum located at 24th street adjacent to the oceanfront boardwalk.

It is also the oldest African-American neighborhood in the southern part of Virginia Beach (one of 14 historic formerly segregated African-American neighborhoods in Virginia Beach). Although it is currently a very diverse neighborhood and community that is home to many residents of several races and ethnicities , in the past, it was a practically all-African-American neighborhood until the 1970s. This changed due in part to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (specifically the Fair Housing Anti-Discrimination Act of the CRA1968) and developing infrastructure that spread into the Seatack area of Virginia Beach through the 1960s and 1970s, as part of the city's tourism innovation and infrastructure projects for the resort strip of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.


Seatack was named because it was the point on the coast of rural Princess Anne County where the community was the target of cannonballs fired from British ships and was where troops came ashore during an attack in the War of 1812. The isolated stretch of beach place became known as "Sea Attack", and was gradually shortened to "Sea 'ttack", and then, finally, simply "Seatack".Seatack was the location of the first "resort" hotel in 1884 which opened after a 19-mile-long narrow gauge railroad was built from Norfolk in 1883. It was remodeled in 1888 and renamed the "Princess Anne Hotel", a massive 2 block wooden facility, which attracted vacationers from considerable distances.

In 1891, while hotel guests watched, surfmen from the Seatack station of United States Lifesaving Service were involved in the rescue efforts for the Norwegian bark Dictator which ran aground near present-day 37th street. Seven lives were lost, including the Captain's wife and small child, leading to the Norwegian Lady memorials and several local legends.

At some point in the early 1900s, the name Seatack became more specifically applied to an area west of the beach, the oldest neighborhood of free blacks in Princess Anne County. Legend has it that blacks were allowed to settle in this area because whites didn't see the future value of the swampy wooded land. Blacks not only settled this area but also thrived there. Blacks who lived in the area called Seatack made many historical accomplishments in the segregated county of Princess Anne, that included raising money to build schools for their children (namely, Princess Anne County Training School—1938), starting a fire station (Seatack Fire Station) because the black neighborhood wasn't serviced by the city fire and rescue, building churches (Mount Olive Baptist, St. Stephens COGIC) to worship in and a community/daycare center.

In 1915, the United States Lifesaving Service became the United States Coast Guard. The station at Seatack (built in 1903 to replace an earlier structure) is now a museum at 24th street adjacent to the boardwalk of Virginia Beach. The area's lifesaving history along the coast line of the Graveyard of the Atlantic is commemorated at the Old Coast Guard Station Museum which has artefacts from the shipwreck of the Dictator, displays of period lifesaving equipment, educational programs. The museum also has a webcam which shows Internet users a view similar to that of members of the lifesaving crews had over 100 years ago.[1]

The Seatack Coast Guard Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Another extant Coast Guard Station was located at Little Island. Located south of Sandbridge, it is owned by the City of Virginia Beach. However, the Little Island Coast Guard Station is not open to the public.



  • Geographical coordinates: 36°50′26″N 75°59′49″W / 36.84056°N 75.99694°W / 36.84056; -75.99694 (click for maps and satellite photos of Seatack, Virginia)
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