Community Roots - Communities
A Short History of Great Neck Point
Contributed by J. Davis Reed III (a long-time resident)
Great Neck Point can rightfully claim to be one of the oldest neighborhoods in the City of Virginia Beach, as well as one of the nicest. Indeed, it can claim to be one of the oldest communities in the State of Virginia and in the United States
Situated on the eastern side of the Lynnhaven River near Lynnhaven Inlet, Great Neck Point was the location of the main town of the Chesapean Indians, who were the inhabitants of the Princess Anne County area prior to the arrival of the English settlers in 1607. For many years, archeologists and other persons have found numerous Native American artifacts, such as arrowheads, stone axes, pottery, beads, and skeletons in Great Neck Point.
As it is well known, the first permanent English settlers landed at Cape Henry, which is less than five miles from Great Neck Point, in April 1607, and were met by the Chesapean Indians. One of the two oldest homes in the City of Virginia Beach, the Adam Keeling house, is located on Adam Keeling Road in Great Neck Point. Built around 1680 by Adam Keeling (the godson of Adam Thoroughgood, another early settler), the house has been privately owned and occupied for many years. The Keeling family cemetery is still located in the neighborhood at the northern end of Lynn Cove Lane
The more recent history of Great Neck Point could be said to have begun in 1938 when George and Jane Syer purchased the Adam Keeling house and most of the present-day neighborhood for $15,200. At that time, the entire Great Neck area was extremely rural, and there were only a few homes in the area. Most of the land was either wooded or farmland. The Syer family moved into the Adam Keeling house and began to sell parcels of land to some of their friends and family. Among the earliest residents of the neighborhood, in addition to the Syers, were Dr. and Mrs. Bentley Byrd, Jack and Marguerite Aspinwall, Jeff and Nina Wagner, and Davis and Emma Reed.
The Syers enjoyed horseback riding and kept horses in the pasture and woods between their home and Lynn Cove Lane. They also had a barn and riding ring located near the Keeling graveyard. There was also an abandoned sawmill on the west side of the present Twin Cove Road, and for a few years the Syers ran a boat-building enterprise there.
The few families who lived in the neighborhood in the 1940s and ‘50s were very close-knit and friendly. In the 1950s the community built a tennis court as well as a baseball diamond which was the site of father-child softball games. The boys in the neighborhood also enjoyed hunting, boating and trapping along the Lynnhaven River and Long Creek.
The 1960s and ‘70s were a period of substantial development in the neighborhood. Much of the farmland was replaced by homes and new roads. A civic league was established. Today, Great Neck Point has more than 100 homes, many of them beautiful waterfront properties valued at $1,000,000 or more. It has developed into one of the premiere neighborhoods in the City of Virginia Beach, and yet retains much of the quiet charms that it possessed fifty years ago.
The Historical Society reviews and publishes Community Roots Articles for public information. While we believe this information to be accurate, checking the accuracy of information is the responsibility of the reader.
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