top of page


1643     Captain Adam Thoroughgood received a land patent for property that later became Bayville Farms.

1651     Isaac Murray and his three sons had a prosperous flax growing and processing business.

1700     John Akiss setttled and farmed in the area that later became Birdneck Point.

1852     The first Agricultural Society Fair was held at Kempsville.

1899     More than 1,500 acres of strawberries were raised in PA County.

1900     Lynnhaven oysters reached their peak population.

1919     Cotton acreage in the county increased to 2,188 acres between 1919 and 1929.

1919     C.J. Burroughs founded Bayville Farms.

1921     Two of Virginia Beach's oldest restaurants, Tandom's Pine Tree Inn and Hurd's began as oyster houses.

1922     PA County ranked third in the state in  the production of sweet potatoes with 266,000 bushels.  

1937     Yoder Dairy opened on Princess Anne Road in Kempsville.

1937     The Princess Anne County Cooperative Farm Bureau was established.

1964     Farming was ranked with tourism as a top industry in Virginia Beach according to the Director  of                                 the Virginia Truck Station at Diamond Springs.

1968     James Hoggard had probably the largest grain farm in Virginia Beach.

1969     W.R. "Billy" Malbon Jr., the largest feeder of hogs on the  East Coast, was name "Agriculture Man                                  of  the Year".

1970     62,000 acres were being farmed in the City, which ranked first among Virginia's subdivisions in the

                 yield of corn, soybeans, and wheat.

1973     The agricultural industry in Virginia Beach contributed and estimated $101 million to the economy.

1976     The Virginia Beach Farmers' Market opened.

1984     The first Pungo Strawberry Festival was held.

1986     Oystering was banned in the Lynnhaven River.

1997     Steers, hogs, and lambs raised by Virginia Beach-4-H members brought in a record $100,000 at

                  the Virginia Beach 4-H Livestock Show and Sale Auction.

2000     Strange Crop Circles appeared in Robert W. White Jr.'s wheat field.

2003     Donald Horsley, a Virginia Beach farmer, received support for an estimated 300-acre farming

                    museum from city leaders and other farmers.

Church & Religion

1639     A church building was in existence at Church Point or on the Lynnhaven River. It was later moved

                  and became Old Donation Church.

1640     The first vestry was chosen.

1662     Quakers [Society of Friends] were considered to be on the extreme left of church reformers and were

                  therefore persecuted. In 1662 and 1663, twenty people find for attending meetings. Richard Russell

                  was fined for holding meetings in his home. Quakers later built a meeting house and school on

                  present-day Laskin Road.

1689     Eastern Shore Chapel (lower chapel) was founded in a log cabin construction and located at the

                  southern end of Great Neck Road at the north fork of Wolfsnare Creek. The chapel was originally

                  classified as a "chapel of the ease".

1692     "The Brick Church," the second Lynnhaven Parish Church, was built near the site where present-day

                   Old Donation Church stands.

1693     Presbyterians met on Ed Cooper's plantation at Great Neck.

1694     The Lynnhaven Parish Vestry paid one thousand pounds of tobacco to Ebenezer Taylor for the property

                    on which "The Brick Church" had been built.

1695     Lynnhaven parish was established with the same boundaries as PA County's, and served as the  

                    County's only parish for 200 years along with several smaller churches known as "chapels of ease".

1711      The Old Donation Church paten was given by Maximillion Boush and was engraved with his coat

                    of arms.

1716      A goblet (1712) and flagon (1716) were given to Old Donation Church as part of Queen Anne's bounty.

1726      Eastern Shore Chapel, a larger structure, was built on Cornick's Salbury Plains plantation.

1739      James Janey contracted and replaced Pungo Chapel's "first upper chapel" with a frame building

                    without a brick foundation. 

1759     Eastern Shore Chapel's colonial silver chalice and communion pieces were made by William Grundy.

1764     The first Baptist dissenters met in a home in Pungo. They built the first structure in 17645 and later  

             built  Oak Grove Baptist Church.

1774      Blackwater Baptist Church was established as an off shoot of Oak Grove Baptist Church.

1784      Eastern Shore Baptist Church was established. It would later be known as London Bridge

                     Baptist Church.

1789     Charity Methodist Church was organized in Back Bay.

1791      Nimmo Methodist Church was organized and built.

1814     Kempsville Baptist Church was established as the fourth oldest Baptist Church in PA County.

1842     Old Donation Church was abandoned.

1843     Emmanual Episcopal Church was founded.

1856     The London Bridge mission at Princess Anne County Court house became St. Johns Baptist Church.

1868     St. Mark's African Methodist Episcopal Church was established.

1872     Former slaves broke away from old Nimmo Church and met in homes. By 1873 they met in a tiny

                   log cabin known as Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church.

1882     The Old Donation Church building burned. Through efforts of the Haygood family, a service would

                    continue to be held once a year in the roofless ruins.

1888     Galilee Episcopal Church, formerly Union Chapel, was established.

1890     Wood from the 1889 wreck of the Agnes Barnes was used to build Eastern Shore Chapel Mission by

                    the Sea near Dam Neck.

1895     East Lynnhaven Parish was founded with the congregation meeting in private homes.

1895     The Wash Woods Methodist Church was built for the cypress wood cargo of the wrecked schooner

                    John S. Woods.

1907     Mt. Zion Church construction was completed.

1908     The cornerstone of the First Baptist Church was laid at 17th Street and Atlantic Avenue.

1913     Construction began on the Kempsvills Amish church house.

1915     Star of the Sea Catholic Church was founded on Groves land.

1916      Old Donation Church was restored through the efforts of Richard Alfred of Emmanual Church.

1917     Lynnhaven Presbyterian Church was organized.

1924     Eastern Shore Mission by the Sea was bought by Christ Church of Norfolk and made into a camp

                    for girls.

1924     St. Teresa Chapel was organized. It would later become Cape Henry Chapel.

1926     The cornerstone was laid for Galilee Episcopal Church on 18th Street as a replacement for Union


1947     Emmanuel Episcopal Church was built.

1951     Temple Emmnanual was dedicated.

1952     The First Baptist Church was relocated from 17th Street to 35th Street.

1954     Groundbreaking was held on Laskin Road for the fourth Eastern Shore Chapel.

1956     The Galilee Episcopal Church's present-day building was constructed and it's steple erected at

                   40th Street and Pacific Avenue.

1957     St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church was erected under the leadership of the Rev. Peter Ireton,

                   Bishop of Richmond.

1968     Rock Church was established in Kempsville.

1995     Beth Chaverim Synagogue was vandalized while under construction.

1996     Ruthenian Catholics of the Byzantine Eparchy of Passaic established Our Lady of Perpetual Help.



Civil Rights & Diversity

1844     Willis Hodges, a free Negro, was arrested for "unlawfully preaching." He was tried and unanimously


1859     Ebenezer Baptist Church, the oldest African American church in Virginia Beach. was established.

1864     More than 300 former slaves attended a school established at Rolleston by the American Missionary   


1867     Willis Augustus Hodges was elected to the Virginia Constitutional Convention.

1879     Littleton Owens was elected as PA County's representative to the Virginia House of Delegates.

1920     The Jewish Lynnhaven Country Club and Golf Course was established near Willis Wayside.

1938     Robert E. W. Sparrow became PA County's first black policeman.

1941     The Virginia Beach and Princess Anne Chapters of the NAACP were formed.

1943     Seaview Beach was opened on the Chesapeake Bay as a second beach for the use of African Americans.

1944     The Virginia Beach Temple was offically established with forty-four members.

1948     Seatack Volunteer Fire Department was organized.

1949     The cornerstone for Temple Emmanual, the first formal synagogue, was laid at 25th Street.

1954     Seashore State Park was closed due to a desegregation law suit.

1955     Nelson H. Davis was sworn in as the first deputy sheriff of PA County.

1964     Reba McClanan taught the first integrated class at Virginia Beach High School.

1986     The Sugar Plum Bakery was opened, for the employment of disabled persons.

1989     A riot occurred on Labor Day at the oceanfront.

1990     The only Chinese community in Hampton Roads was opened near Newtown Road.

1990     SkillQuest, a city program offering support and services to mentally retarded adults, was opened.

1991     The City Manager ordered an investigation of the Police Department following the publication of

                    a newspaper series on brutality.

1995     Minister and gay activist Mel White was arrested at the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) after

                   protesting Pat Robertson's anti-gay stance.

1995     The Reform Jewish Temple was vandalized for a third time while under construction. Swastikas

                   and anti-Semantic images were etched into the building.

1996     Black parents filed complaints with the Virginia Dept. of Education's Office of Civil Rights alleging

                   disparity in treatment at Beach schools.

1997     Chief Emeritus Perry of the Nansemond tribe oversaw excavation of sixty-four Chesapean Indians and

                    their reburial ceremony at First Landing State Park.

1997     Virginia Beach Public Schools agreed to report student discipline information to the Dept. of Education

                   Office of Civil Rights for three years.

1998     The second annual Hampton roads Juneteenth festival celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation

                    was held at Mt. Trashmore.

1998     An attempted cross burning occurred at the home of an inter-racial couple.

1998     150 pagans climbed Mt. Trashmore to celebrate Halloween.

1999     The Tidewater Native American Support Group celebrated its first  anniversary with a pow-wow

                   at Mt. Trashmore.

1999     The Friendship Patrol was formed to make the Atlantic Avenue area more peaceful and family friendly.

1999     Bowing to public criticism, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] removed a billboard

                  advertisement in Virginia Beach that featured a bloody cow's head.

1999     Carolyn Lincoln was inducted as the first black woman president of the Virginia Beach Council of

                  Civic Organizations.

2000     The Philippine Cultural Center, the first of its kind on the Eastern Seaboard, was opened.

2000     Lt. Col. Frank Butts of Camp Pendleton was the first black brigade commander appointed in the

                   Virginia Army National Guard.

2000     The 2000 federal census reported that Virginia beach was the top Virginia city in terms of Asian


2000     Virginia Beach ranked #2 among 64 cities in terms of the United Kingdom ancestry of its citizens.

2003     People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] protested the killing of geese at Stumpy Lake.


Cultural Life

1879     The Sandbridge Gunning Club was formed.

1905     The first public library was opened in B.P. Holland's store on 7th Street. Library cards cost 25 cents.

1912     Construction of the Princess Anne Country Club began. 

1912     James M. Jordan Jr. became the first man to ride a surfboard on the east coast.

1920     The first salt water swimming pool was opened as Seaside Park Casino.

1926     Members of the London Bridge Baptist Church formed the Purity Squad to help track down


1926     The new Ocean Casino was built.

1926     The first Miss Virginia Pageant in the state was held at Seaside Park.

1929     The Cavalier Beach Club opened.

1929     The Virginia Beach News (weekly) began publication, produced by the Virginia Beach Princess Anne

                  Printing and Publishing Company.

1931     The Association for Research and Enlightenment [ARE] was formed.

1933     Ocean Breeze Beach opened for African Americans on Lake Joyce.

1942     The Dunes Club was in operation as a night club and gambling casino. It closed in 1953.

1951     The Civitan Club of Virginia Beach was chartered.

1954     The Virginia Beach Kiwanis Club was chartered.

1955     The annual Lotus Festival began at Tabernacle Methodist Church.

1956     The first Boardwalk Art Show was held.

1958     The Virginia Beach Civic Center [Dome] was built on Pacific Avenue.

1962     The East Coast Surfing Championship was established.

1971     The Virginia Beach Arts Center was established.

1971     Mount Trashmore opened as a city park.

1973     The first Neptune Festival was held.

1974     Virginia Beach officially became a sister-city to Moss, Norway.

1976     The first Shakespeare by the Sea Festival was held.

1981     The Virginia Beach Maritime Historical Museum opened in the Old Coast Guard Station.

1981     The Virginia Beach Community Orchestra was formed and would later become the Virginia Beach


1986     The Virginia Marine Science Museum opened and would later be renamed the Virginia Aquarium.

1992      Virginia Beach became a sister-city to Miyazaki, Japan.

1993     Kids Cove playground was built by volunteers.

1995     The Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum opened in DeWitt Cottage.

1996     The Virginia Beach Amphitheater opened.

1999     Virginia Beach invited Bangor, Ireland to become a sister-city.



1699     Lynnhaven Bay was terrorized by the pirate ship Alexander, and the following year by the French

                  pirate ship La Paix.

1837     The Edmund Ruffin Silk Society was formed to honor agrarian reformer Edmund Ruffin for his

                  unusual idea of locally producing silk cloth.

1860     There were fourteen manufacturing establishments in PA County with an annual cost of labor

                   $4,500 and an annual value of products of $5,7600.

1880     Marshal Parks established the Seaside Hotel and Land Company to facilitate the purchase of lots

                    with oceanfront property from farmers.

1883     Small and modest, the Virginia Beach Hotel was the first hotel to open in Virginia Beach.

1900     There were three general stores in Virginia Beach: Sorrey's and Holland's on 17th Street and

                   Etheridge's on Cypress Avenue.

1912     Seaside Amusement Park extending from 31st Street to 33rd Street opened.

1923     The Malbon Brothers Hog Farm was established.

1927     The Cavalier Hotel opened.

1928     After approval of a $250,000 bond issue, the concrete boardwalk was extended for 35th Street

                 to 50th Street.

1949     Dominick and Alice Ciola founded Ciola's Italian Restaurant.

1952     Oceanfront lots sold for $2,700 at Sandbridge and the following year Dewey Corbett, a Texan,

                    built the first year-round residence there at $9,000.

1958     The first shopping center in Virginia Beach, Aragona Village Shopping Center, was opened.

1960     Pembroke Mall opened.

1964     The City of Virginia Beach Industrial Development Authority came into existence as a political

                   subdivision through an act of the state legislature.

1968     Retail sales from all hotels and motels in Virginia Beach totaled $10,580,348.

1976     The Christian Broadcasting Network [CBN] announced that it would construct a $23 million

                  communications complex and corporate headquarters in Virginia Beach.

1980     The Pavilion, an $18 million convention center, was opened on 19th Street.

1980     Lynnhaven Mall opened as the largest shopping center between Washington D.C. and Atlanta.

1982     The Lake Gaston water Supply Project began with the Virginia Beach City Council setting a goal

                   to solve long-term water supply problems.

1983     Columbus Center, an 11-story Pembroke office tower, was built.

1986     Virginia Beach boasted more than 125 shopping centers representing more than $1.6 billion in retail sales.

1988     The first workers checked in at Lillian Vernon.

1989     Science Applications International Corp. [SAIC] broke ground for a new plant. With 500 workers,

                   it would be the city's third largest private employer.

1996     Construction of the 76-mile long Lake Gaston pipeline began.

2000     Virginia Beach ranked #62 out of 187 as one of the best places to retire by Retirement Places Rated.

2000     Oceana Naval Air Station, the largest employer in Virginia Beach, had a payroll of over $600 million.

2000     Meetings at the Pavilion and convention hotels produced $68.2 million in gross revenues.

2000     Grou0nd was broken for Town Center, located in Virginia Beach's Central Business District.

2001     Virginia Beach was ranked #2 out of 100 cities as one of "The 10 Best Cities for Families" by

                   Child Magazine.

2002     The Norfolk-Virginia Beach metro area was ranked #6 out of 50 as one of "Hottest Cities for

                    Business Relocation and Expansion by Expansion Management magazine.

2002     Ladies Home Journal ranked Virginia Beach #1 out of 57 locations for qualities women care about:

                    low crime, lifestyle, education, jobs, health and child care.

2002     Virginia Beach received an Outstanding Achievement Award for its "Preserving Our Common

                    Ground" program as part of the City Livability Awards Program sponsored by the U.S. Conference

                    of Mayors.

Government & Politics

1691     Lower Norfolk County was separated into Norfolk and Princess Anne Counties, the later named for

                 Anne, the youngest daughter of King James II.

1706     Grace Sherwood was tried for witchcraft.

1727     The Virginia Assembly passes an act authorizing the construction of a light house at Cape Henry.

1777     A reward was offered for the arrest of five leaders of a band known for murdering a city inhabitant,     

                an act that led to Phillips Rebellion.

1783     Kempsville was incorporated as a town.

1819     John J. Burroughs became Deputy Clerk of Court.

1830     John Barnes Woodhouse represented PA County in the Virginia House of Delegates.

1861     Henry Wise won a special election to represent PA County at the Virginia Secession Convention.

1867     Willis Augustus Hodges represented PA County at the Vieginia Constitutional Convestion.

1898     The last hanging by court order was carried out in PA County.

1906     The Town of Virginia Beach was incorporated.

1923     The first annexation of county land by the Town of Virginia Beach occurred.

1924     Norfolk supplied water to Virginia Beach with a water line cost of $200,000.

1926     The Town of Virginia Beach voted to approve a $250,000 bond issue to construct a concrete bulkhead.

1935     The school budget was $17,125.

1938     The Virginia Beach Town Council voted to employ the services of the Virginia Beach Life Guard Patrol.

1952     Virginia Beach was incorporated as a city.

1959     Norfolk annexed 13.5 square miles of PA County.

1962     A voter referendum approved the merger of PA County and the City of Virginia Beach and the following

                 year the County and the City merged to form a new city.

1974     The Virginia Beach Mayor's Committee on the Handicapped was established.

1976     Meyera Oberndorf was elected as the first female City Council member.

1986     The City Council established the "Green Line", marking a southern limit to development in the city.

1988     The position of mayor became eligible for election by popular vote.

1989     The Virginia Beach Center for the Arts opened.

1991     The Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission was established.

1993     The City of Virginia Beach began using closed circuit television as an active approach to address

                public safety.

1993     The new Virginia Beach Judicial Center opened for tours.

1994     Louisa Strayhorn was sworn in as the first African-American woman to serve on the Virginia

                Beach City Council.

1996     The City of Virginia Beach received an award as the most innovative local government in America.

1996     The expanded Virginia Beach Marine Science Museum opened to record attendance.

1998     The Lake Gaston water supply project became fully operational.

1999     The Virginia Beach City Council signed a contract for the 31st Street redevelopment project.

1999     Delegate Glenn R. Croshaw the last Democratic legislator to represent Virginia Beach, was defeated.

2000     The City launched "e-government" to deliver city services to citizens over the internet.

2002     Ron Villanueva was elected as the first Filipino member of City Council.

2003     Virginia Beach was the first city in Virginia to eliminate automotive decals and use a motor vehicle

                 database to track payment of the local car [personal property] tax.

2003     The Commonwealth of Virginia vs. John A. Muhammad trial was scheduled to be held in Virginia Beach.



1692     A school was established at Ferry Farm.

1715     The second Lynnhaven Parish Church was turned into a school with Gilbert Holoday as headmaster.

1766     Rev. Robers Dickson provided in his will for the establishment of Dickson's Free School for poor male

                 orphans. The school was the first of its kind in  PA County.

1846     Blossom Hill School was built in Creeds. It was the first school built in PA County under the Virginia

                  Free Schools Act.

1847     Voters approved a "free school system" plan.

1858     The Tabernacle Methodist Church Sabbatical School was organized in Sandbridge with Tilly

                  Whitehurst as superintendent.

1863     The American Missionary Society sent teachers to PA County to help educate blacks.

1870     Edgar B. Macon was named the first superintendent of PA County schools'

1885     Charity Neck School was built.

1904     Cooke School opened as the first public school, located in the attic of the Driftwood Cottage.

1907     A town hall was built to house a school, jail and volunteer fire department.

1912     Oceana High School graduated its first class.

1915     A portion of Charity Neck School was moved to Asbury Methodist Church by black community

                 leaders to serve a a school for black children. It was renamed Pleasant Ridge School.

1920     The first agricultural high school opened in Oceana.

1921     Court House Elementary School's brick building was completed.

1922     The first Princess Anne County School Board was formed.

1923     The Skinner School for African-American children opened near the present-day entrance to


1924     The Everett School was established.

1925     The Princess Anne Training School Association was formed by black parents and teachers.

1930     Atlantic University was founded by Edgar Cayce.

1937     The Princess Anne Training School was erected as the first high school for balck students in PA County

1946     The first classes for the Kempsville Mennonite School were held in the home of Francis B. Miller.

1952     Virginia Beach High School was built as a replacement for Oceana High School.

1954     Princess Anne High School was opened.

1961     Virginia Wesleyan College was opened.

1965     Reba McClanan taught the first integrated class at Virginia Beach High School.

1969     The Virginia Beach Public School System's planetarium was opened.

1971     Tidewater Community College began using eleven barracks at Camp Pendleton as a temporary Virginia

                 Beach campus location.

1971     Cape Henry Collegiate School opened. Formerly the Everett School, it was the oldest continuous

                 private school in Virginia Beach.

1972     Virginia Beach approved $4.7 million to build the Tidewater Community College campus.

1972     A year-round school pilot program was approved for Windsor Woods, Plaza, Holland and Windsor Oaks

                 Elementary Schools.

1973     Summer and fall kindergarten programs began.

1979     Dr. Richard Gottier was named CBN University's first president.

1988     The ODU/NSU Graduate Center was opened at the intersection of Virginia Beach Blvd. and Little Neck Rd.

1989     The Open Campus High School program was established.

1990     CBN University changed its name to Regent University.

1993     The Virginia General Assembly approved a charter change for Virginia Beach to allow for an

                  elected school board.

1993     Norfolk Catholic High School moved from Granby Street in Norfolk to Princess Anne Road in Virginia

                  Beach and was dedicated as Catholic High School.

1999     The Friends School held a ceremony for its first high school graduating class.

Historic Structures

1607     The Powhatan Indians lived in houses that were barrel-vaulted frameworks of saplings with coverings

                  of mats (doubled in winter) or, for those of higher status, bark slabs.

1607     A cross commemorating the First landing was erected at Cape Henry.

1680     The Adam Thoroughgood House was built.

1695     The first Princess Anne courthouse was built.

1715      Wolfsnare Plantation was built by Matthew Pallet.

1730     The courthouse, the first to be made of brick in PA County, was moved to Ferry Farm.

1742     Lynnhaven House was built.

1751     The courthouse stocks and pillory were removed from the Ferry Farm to New Town where they remained

                 until 1778. 

1754     Eastern Shore Chapel was constructed of brick.

1760     Upper Wolfsnare was built.

1764     Pembroke Manor was built.

1778     The courthouse was moved to Kempe's Landing.

1779     Pleasant Hall was built.

1800     The Francis Land House was built.

1822     The courthouse was completed at its present-day location at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center and

                  opened to the public two years later.

1830     Ferry Plantation House was built.

1874     The first Cape Henry Lifesaving Station was built.

1878     The first Seatack Lifesaving Station was built.

1881     A new cast iron lighthouse was erected at Cape Henry.

1888     The first wooden boardwalk was built.

1888     The Infant Sanitarium, the first hospital in Virginia Beach, was founded on Atlantic Avenue.

1891     The original Norwegian Lady statue was erected.

1895     The DeWitt Cottage was built.

1908     The Greystone Manor/Masury House was built.

1925     The first fire station was built on the corner of 24th Street and Pacific Avenue.

1926     Work on a concrete boardwalk and seawall was begun, financed by a bond issue of $250,000.

1937     A stone statue in the shape of an arrowhead to commemorate the exploits of Danial Boone wan unveiled.

1938     The concrete boardwalk was joined by two wooden bulkheads, one of the Cavalier Shores property

                  built in 1938, and the Sea Pines bulkhead, built in 1939, joining the concrete boardwalk at 39th Street

                  and extending to the Cavalier Hotel property.

1948     Virginia Beach Hospital opened at 25th street and Arctic Avenue.

1958     The Cooke House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, was built

1962     A bronze replacement for the original wooden Norwegian Lady statue was dedicated.

1965     The Virginia Beach General Hospital was built and opened for patient care.

1971      The William W. Oliver Sr. family presented Lynnhaven House to the Association for the Preservation

                  Virginia Antiquities  [APVA]

1994     The Alan B. Shepard Civic Center, better known as The Dome, was demolished.  

1996     Ferry Plantation House was obtained by the City of Virginia Beach.

1999     Mayor Meyra Oberndorf cut the ribbon opening the Bayside History Trail on the anniversary of

                  Grace Sherwood's ducking in 1706.


1607     Captain Christopher Newport's party was attacked by natives near Cape Henry.

1775     Princess Anne militiamen helped to defeat Lord Dunmore at the Battle of Great Bridge.

1781     The Battle off the Capes, a major naval engagement between the British and the French was fought off

                 Cape Charles and Cape Henry, and marked the turning point of the American Revolution.

1807     A battle between the U.S. Frigate Chesapeake and the English vessel Leopard took place off Lynnhaven

                 Inlet. The incident was part of the events that led to the outbreak of the War of 1812

1813     A British company in search of supplies was driven back by local militiamen near Seatack.

1861     Union forces used the Eastern Shore Chapel as a stable for their horses and occupied PA County

                 a years later.

1873     The U.S. Signal Corps opened a weather station at Cape Henry.

1905     the Confederate monument was unveiled at Princess Anne Courthouse.

1913     The first contingent of Virginia Nation Guard troops arrived at the State Rifle Range.

1914     Fort Story, named for John P. Story, an artillery expert, was opened. Called the "American Gibraltar,"

                 it was the first military base in Virginia Beach.

1914     The USS Paulding CG-17 ran aground in Lynnhaven Inlet.

1940     Dam Neck was organized as an anti-aircraft school.

1941     The State Rifle Range, formerly known as the State Military Reservation was renamed Camp Pendleton.

1941     The U.S. Navy took over the Cavalier Hotel to billet troops.

1941     The Virginia Beach USO began operation in the Infant Santarium.

1941     The runway at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station Creeds was completed.

1941     Ann armed guard school at Little Creek began training gun crews on merchant ships.

1942     Tankers Rochester and Oakmar were torpedoed and sunk off the Virginia Beach coastline

1942     The tanker Tiger was torpedoed by a German submarine and sank off the coast of the Dam Neck

                 Training Center.

1943     The Naval Auxillary Air Station Oceana was commissioned.

1944     Camp Ashby, in the Thalia section of Virginia Beach Boulevard, was a prisoner of war camp and held

                  6,000 prisoners over two years.

1945     The Swiftscout was the last torpedoing and sinking off the Virginia Beach coastline.

1963     The Virginia Beach Convention Center was renamed the Alan B. Shepard Civic Center in honor of the

                  first American in space who was a local resident.

1971      The Flame of Hope on Oceana Boulevard was dedicated as a memorial to American POW/MIAs from

                  the Vietnam Conflict.

1973     A C-9 Nightingale carrying four American POWs touched down as NAS Oceana.

1976     The first Navy woman jet pilot soloed in an A-4L Skyhawk.

1981     Twenty-four goats were purchased to "mow" the grass in the weapons compound area at NAS Oceana.

1988     The Tidewater Veterans Memorial was built and dedicated to all U.S. war veterans.

1999     A fly-over of F-18 Hornets symbolized the reassignment of this aircraft from Ceicil Field to NAS Ocena.

2001     Virginia Beach African-American resident Col. Bert W. Holmes Jr was promoted to Brigadier General

                 in the Virginia Dept. of Military Affairs by Gov. James Gilmore.


Natural Environment

​1724     A severe tropical storm known as the "Great gust of 1724" struck the Chesapeake Bay area.

1780     Early Settlers had referred to an area of land approximately five miles from Cape Henry to the Lynnhaven

                Inlet as the Desert. An act in 1780 ensured the Desert would remain a public domain.

1806     The great coastal hurricane of 1806 struck Virginia Beach.

1850     Local lore attributed the name Sandbridge to a physical feature, "a sand bridge built over a long to the


1918     PA County had approximately 108,000 acres of forest or woodland, 60% of the total land area,

                 and approximately 11,000 acres (6%) of waste or brush land.

1918     The Chesapeake Bay froze and ice extended to the beach.

1920     According to the 1920 federal census, Virginia Beach land was classified as: total land area,

                  178,560 acres; land in farms, 94, 544; improved land in farms, 60,235; woodland in farms,  28,734;

                  and land in farms, 84,016.

1933     The Cape Henry Syndicate deeded 1,00- acres to the state forming the nucleus of Seashore

                  State Park. An additional 2,670 acres of land was acquired to add to the park, resulting  in twenty-five

                  miles of trails cleared by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).

1935     A record fog lasting fourteen days was recorded at Cape Henry.

1938     Two years after it opened to the public, 2,373 acres were purchased to enlarge Seashore State Park.

1938     The Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established with 4,600 acres.

1962     The "Ash Wednesday Storm" brought 20 to 30 foot waves, over seven foot tides, and damaged

                  1,000 automobiles. It destroyed the dunes at the Fleet Combat Training Center in Dam Neck.

1966     Gov. Mills E. Godwin  approved an allocation of $1 million to develop False Cape State Park. Barbour's

                 Hill, a 976 acre tract, was bought for $800,000 for the proposed park. Two  years later the park's area

                 totaled 4,321 acres.

1968     The Rudee Inlet Authority opened Rudee Inlet for boating.

1979     The Virginia Beach City Council passed the Chesapeake Beach Dune Protection Law.

1980     Passage through the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge to False Cape was terminated.

1981     Munden Point Park, a 100-acre waterfront recreational park, was opened.

1982     The Coastal Primary Sand Dunes Act was passed requiring permits to balance development, protection,

                 and preservation of coastal features.

1986     The first locally developed comprehensive water trail system in Virginia was established in Virginia Beach.

1990     1,886 acres were acquired for the North Landing River Natural Area Preserve.

1991     The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service receive $3 million to start buying 6,340 acres of forested swamps,

                 farmland, and marshes for the Back Bay Wildlife Refuge and the following year Congress approved

                 $1.8 million to expand the refuge.

1995     Seashore State Park was renamed First Landing State Park.

1998     The Sandbridge sand replenishment project pumped 1.1 million cubic yards of sand onto 5.3 miles of beach.

2003     The $9 million Sandbridge sand replenishment project was completed with2 million cubic yards  of sand.

2003     Hurricane Isabel caused heavy damage to the fishing piers at 15th Street and Lynnhaven Inlet.



1585     Chesopioc, the principal village of the Chesapean Indians, was located near Great Neck Point.

1607     Captain Gabriel Archer and Mathew Morton were wounded by Chesapean Indians during the first night

                 after the landing at Cape Henry.

1607     Cape Henry was named in honor of King James' son Henry, the prince of Wales.

1607     The first landing at Cape Henry included 104 English men and boys who arrived on the ships Godspeed,

                  Susan Constant, and Discovery.

1607     By the summer of 1607, Powhatan had exterminated the Chesapean Indians and remainder were absorbed

                 into the Nansemond tribe.

1635     Adam Thoroughgood  was awarded 5,350 acres along the western shore of the Lynnhaven River as 

                 headrights for 105 indentured servants

1641     Early settler Daniel Gookin's son Joseph acquired 640 acres that later became PA County.

1649     William Moseley immigrated and settled on the northern side of the Eastern branch of the Elizabeth River.

1650     The James Kemp family established Kempe's Landing, present-day Kempsville.

1718     Edward Teach is said to have used Blackbeard's Island in Lake Joyce as a hiding place prior to his death.

1746     The Nansemond Indians sold their tribal lands, thought to be in the vicinity of Back Bay.

1775     Lord Dunmore invaded PA County.

1791     John McComb Jr., master architect of the post-colonial style, was assigned as a bricklayer for the Cape

                 Henry Lighthouse. A  year later, Laban Goffigan was named the first keeper of the light.

1906     Bernard P. Holland, who had come to PA County as a railroad employee, was sworn in as the first

                  Mayor of Virginia Beach.

1913     Abe Doumar opened an ice cream cone vending location on the Boardwalk.

1921     The Law and Order League and the Purity Squad were formed to help capture moonshiners.

1921     President William G. Harding played golf at the Princess Anne Country Club.

1925     Edgar Cayce moved to Virginia Beach.

1926     The Lesner Bridge was named after John  A. Lesner, a member of the Virginia State Senate from

                  Norfolk (1908 - 1915; 1923 - 1939).

1935     "Aunt" Betsy Ward died. An ex-slave, she was believed to be the oldest resident of PA County at an 

                   estimated age of 103.

1960     Two friends, William Deal and Ammon Tharp, formed a band that would later be known as Bill Deal

                  and the Rhondels. 

1961     Louise Luxford Elementary School was named in honor of a woman who served in the PA County

                   School System for 44 years.

1963     Pete Smith and Bob Holland opened the Smith and Holland Surf Shop.

1973     Louise Venable Kyle published the Witch of Pungo.

1973     Virginia Beach resident Jeremiah Denton was the first Vietnam POW to step on free soil.

1986     John Perry was elected as the first African-American City Council member.

1988     Meyera Oberndorf, the City's first directly elected mayor, was sworn into office.

1991     Discovery astronaut/pilot Cmdr. Kenneth S. Reightler returned to Virginia Beach for a public appearance.

1991     Skip Wilkins was inducted into the National Wheelchair Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

1996     Judge Sidney S. Kellam died. Appointed a Circuit Court Judge in 1960, he was appointed to the

                  federal bench by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1967. He was a Virginia delegate to the Democratic

                  National Convention in 1952, and a member of the Virginia Democratic National committee in 1967,

                  He served as King Neptune during the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival in 1979.

2000     Rudy Boesch, a former Nave SEAL, was a contestant on the TV reality  show, Survivor.



1600     The first road, an old Indian trail, led from Long Creek east of Lynnhaven Inlet to Knotts Island.

1637     Three toll ferries were in existence was well as a log bridge that connected the glebe area to

                 Thoroughgood's property.

1883     Marshall Parkes formed the Virginia Beach Railroad and Improvement Company, a small gauge

                  railroad between Norfolk and Virginia Beach, to develop the beachfront as a resort.

1891     The Norwegian bark Dictator sank off 40th Street. There were only 10 survivors.

1900     The Norfolk and Virginia Beach Railroad became the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.

1902     The Chesapeake Transit Company  built a standard gauge electric railroad from Cape Henry to

                  Virginia Beach, the northern route.

1905     The Anti-Turnpike Good Roads Association of princess Anne and Norfolk counties was formed'

1921     Virginia Beach Boulevard became the City's first hard-paved [concrete] road, linking the resort

                 with Norfolk.

1928     Tourists in Pullman cars from Chicago could step off their train in front of the Cavalier Hotel.

1928     Shore Drive was opened to relieve congestion on Virginia Beach Boulevard.

1928     The Cavalier Hotel inaugurated a short-lived drive on the beachfront between the hotel and Kill Devil

                 Hills - 60 miles (4 hours) long.

1935     Princess Anne #104, a gas-powered railbus faster than the electric cars it replaced, was introduced

                  by the Norfolk & Southern Railroad.

1935     Pacific Avenue was slated to be paved between 16th and 218th Streets.

1940     Work began on a bridge over Rudee Inlet at 2nd Street.

1940     Train service to Munden Point was ended.

1947     The only stoplight in the city was located at 17th Street.

1947     The last Norfolk & Southern railbus pulled out of Union Station in Norfolk ending rail service to

                  Virginia Beach.

1948     The Virginia Beach Chamber of Commerce erected a "Welcome to Virginia Beach" sign at the

                   intersection of Virginia Beach Boulevard and Laskin Road.

1967     A fourteen-mile stretch south of Sandbridge was designated a public highway.

1971     The Virginia Beach/Norfolk Expressway [Route 44, now a part of I-264] was opened.

1971     John Sears, Chairman of the Virginia Metropolitan Area Transportation Study Commission, proposed

                  a mass transit rail system between Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

1995     The 25-cent toll was removed from the Virginia Beach/Norfolk Expressway.


Background Image: A pre-1913 photograph showing the Seatack Life Saving Station at,what is now, 24th Street and Atlantic Avenue.

A small crowd is gathered to observe a training drill.

bottom of page