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  • History
  • Celebrating the Sand Prints of Yesteryear

    Since the first American settlers stepped foot on our hallowed shores, Virginia Beach has been a historic meeting place for remarkable events. Look up to the celebrated lighthouses at Cape Henry, retrace the footsteps of our forefathers at First Landing State Park, or call the notable Adam Thoroughgood House home for the day, it’s all here and historic, in Virginia Beach.


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    • thoroughgood house

      Adam Thoroughgood House

      Nestled near the bank of the Lynnhaven River, the Thoroughgood House is one of the oldest brick homes in America. Its spectacular collection of late 17th- and early 18th-century English furniture and newly-restored gardens offer visitors a view of the lifestyle of a wealthy Virginia colonist.

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    • atlantic wildfowl heritage museum

      Atlantic Wildfowl Heritage Museum

      This unique museum is located in the last remaining Virginia Beach Boardwalk cottage, de Witt Cottage, which was built in 1895. There is an array of wildfowl artifacts and art as well as representations of the early history of the Virginia Beach. Admission is free.

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    • cape henry lighthouse

      Cape Henry Lighthouses

      The lighthouses at Cape Henry silently guard the entryway into the Chesapeake Bay. The octagonal stone structure was completed in 1792 and is the oldest government-built lighthouse in America. The "new" lighthouse was built in 1881 and is the tallest cast iron lighthouse in the country. Both are located at Fort Story, north of the resort area.

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    • church and religion

      Church and Religion

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

      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 were fined 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.

      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.

      1890
      Wood from the 1889 wreck of the Agnes Barton was used to build Eastern Shore Chapel Mission by the Sea near Dam Neck.

      1960
      Pat Robertson establishes the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach.

    • cultural

      Cultural Life

      1888
      Virginia Beach constructs its first wooden boardwalk.

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

      1929
      The Cavalier Beach Club opened.

      1933
      Ocean Breeze Beach opened for African Americans on Lake Joyce just off present day Shore Drive, north of Bayville Park.

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

      1956
      The first Boardwalk Art Show was held.

      1962
      The East Coast Surfing Championship was established.

      1971
      Mount Trashmore opened as a city park.

      1996
      The Virginia Beach Amphitheater was opened.

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

    • francis land house

      Francis Land House

      A 200 year old plantation home features period rooms furnished with antiques and reproductions that are representative of the gentry class lifestyle of the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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    • military

      Military

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

      1781
      The Battle off the Capes, a major naval engagement between the British and the French fought off Cape Charles and Cape Henry 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.

      1914
      Fort Story, named for John P. Story, and artillery expert, was opened. Called the "American Gibraltar", it was the first military base in Virginia Beach.

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

      1943
      The Naval Auxiliary Air Station Oceana was commissioned.

      1944
      Camp Ashby, in the Thalia area of Virginia Beach Boulevard, was a prisoner of war camp during World War II and held 6,000 prisoners over two years.

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

      1988
      The Tidewater Veterans Memorial was built and dedicated to all United States war veterans.

      2006
      Naval Aviation Park, a monument depicting three historic areas in the history of naval aviation opens at 25th Street and Atlantic overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

    • Military Aviation Museum

      Military Aviation Museum

      The Military Aviation Museum was born from a passion for World War II-era aircraft, and over the years, it has grown into a truly living history museum that rivals any other of its kind in the world.

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    • natural environment

      Natural Environment

      1850
      Local lore attributed the name Sandbridge to a physical feature "a sand bridge built over a log road to the beach".

      1936
      The Cape Henry Syndicate deeded 1,000 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]. Two years after Seashore State Park opened to the public, an additional 2,373 acres were purchased.

      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 340 homes and over 1000 automobiles. It destroyed the dunes at the Fleet Combat Training Center at Dam Neck.

      1968
      The Rudee Inlet Authority opened Rudee Inlet to boating.

      1982
      The Coastal Primary Sand Dunes Act was passed requiring permits to balance development, protection and preservation of coastal features.

      1991
      The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service received $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.

    • naval aviation monument

      Naval Aviation Monument

      At 25th Street and Atlantic, the Naval Aviation Monument depicts three historic eras in naval aviation and represents the culmination of an eight-year undertaking by NAF's Hampton Roads Squadron.

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    • coast guard

      Old Coast Guard Station

      This museum tells the story of the men who served in the US Life-Saving Service and the US Coast Guard. Galleries provide an insight into the early days of shipwrecks along the Virginia coast and the efforts of the life-savers at the stations. Located at 24th Street and the Boardwalk.

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    • people

      People

      1585
      Chesapioc, the principal village of the Chesapean Indians, was located at Great Neck Point.

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

      1718
      Edward Teach is said to have used "Blackbeard's Island" in Lake Joyce (just off present day Shore Drive near Bayville Park) as a hiding place prior to his death.

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

      1925
      Edgar Cayce moved to Virginia Beach.

      1960
      Two friends, William Deal and Ammon Tharp, formed a band that would later become known as Bill Deal and the Rhondels which is know for Beach Music.

      2000
      Local military veteran Rudy Boesch was a contestant on the television reality show Survivor.

    • virginia museum of contemporary art

      Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

      The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art has brought the significant art of our time to Hampton Roads. Through regularly changing exhibitions by national and international artists, the Center explores contemporary culture and brings it to life through educational programming and special events. The award-winning facility is also host to many regional events, performing arts programs, and family entertainment.

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