1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Norfolk (Virginia)
NORFOLK, a city and port of entry of Norfolk county, Virginia, U.S.A., on the northern side of the Elizabeth river (an arm of the Chesapeake Bay) and at the mouth of its eastern branch, and on the Albemarle and Chesapeake and the Dismal Swamp canals, about 90 m. S.E. of Richmond. Pop. (1890) 34,871; (1900) 46,624, of whom 1705 were foreign-born and 20,230 were negroes; (1910 census) 67,452. It is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air line, the Southern, the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk, the Chesapeake & Ohio, the Norfolk & Western, the Norfolk & Southern and the Virginian railways, by many steamship lines, by ferry to Portsmouth (immediately opposite), Newport News, Old Point Comfort and Hampton, and by electric lines to several neighbouring towns. The Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line encircles the two cities, and connects the various trunk lines. Among the prominent buildings and institutions are the Custom House, the Federal Building, Marine Hospital, St Christopher's Hospital, St Vincent's Hospital, Norfolk Protestant Hospital, Sara Leigh Hospital, Norfolk Public Library, Norfolk Academy, Cotton Exchange, City Market, Bank of Commerce Building, Citizens' Bank Building, Board of Trade Building, Law Building, Virginia Bank & Trust Company Building, Norfolk National Bank, Atlantic Hotel, Monticello Hotel, Lynnhaven Hotel, Norfolk Mission College (Presbyterian) for negroes and the historic St Paul's church, which was built in 1737 and was struck by a cannon-ball and partly burned in 1776; in the yard is one of the oldest cemeteries in the country. Norfolk is the see of a Protestant Episcopal bishopric. The city has a public park of 110 acres and various smaller ones, and in the vicinity are several summer resorts, notably Virginia Beach, Ocean View, Old Point Comfort, Pine Beach and Willoughby Beach. The “Norfolk” navy yard is in the southern part of the city of Portsmouth. The harbour is deep, easily accessible through a channel 30 ft. in depth, and well protected by forts Monroe and Wool. The city has immense coal piers. It is the largest peanut market in the world, is in a great truck-gardening region, and makes large shipments of cotton (822,930 bales in 1905), oysters, coal, fertilizers, lumber, grain, fruits, wine, vegetables, fish and live stock. Norfolk is combined with Portsmouth in one customs district, the foreign trade of which in 1908 amounted to $11,326,817 in exports and $1,150,044 in imports. One of the most important manufacturing industries is grading, roasting, cleaning and shelling peanuts (in 1905 valued at $791,760). In 1900 the value of the factory products was $4,691,779; in 1905 it was $5,900,129, the city ranking third among the cities of the state in value of factory products.
Norfolk was founded in 1682 in pursuance of an act of the Virginia Assembly passed in 1680 to establish towns for the encouragement of trade; it was incorporated as a borough in 1736 by a royal charter, was chartered as a city in 1845, its charter being revised in 1882 and 1884, and received a new charter in 1906 (amended in 1908), under which there are a mayor (elected for four years), a common council, a board of aldermen and a board of control of three members, which has charge of public works, streets, sewers, drains and water supply, the police and fire departments, the work of the board of health, &c. Norfolk is administratively independent of Norfolk county. In 1906 the town of Berkley (incorporated in 1890; pop. in 1900, 4988) was annexed. During the War of Independence Norfolk was bombarded on the 1st of January 1776 by the British under John Murray, 4th earl of Dunmore (1732—1809); much of the town was burned by the American troops to prevent Dunmore from establishing himself here. In 1855 it suffered severely from yellow fever. At the outbreak of the Civil War the city was abandoned, and the navy yard was burned by the Federals in April 1861; Norfolk was then occupied until the 9th of May 1862 by Virginia troops, first under General William Booth Taliaferro (1822—1898) and later under General Benjamin Huger (1806—1877). Five miles from Norfolk and with Norfolk as its headquarters was held from the 26th of April to the 30th of November 1907 the Jamestown Ter-Centennial Exposition, celebrating the first permanent English settlement in America at Jamestown, Virginia.