About Newport News

About Newport News 2017-10-20T02:58:22+00:00

Newport News, located right next to Hampton, is centrally located between Williamsburg and Hampton.

Newport News is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 180,719. In 2013, the population was estimated to be 183,412,[4] making it the fifth-most populous city in Virginia.

Newport News is included in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. It is at the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the northern shore of the James River extending southeast from Skiffe’s Creek along many miles of waterfront to the river’s mouth at Newport News Point on the harbor of Hampton Roads. The area now known as Newport News was once a part of Warwick County. Warwick County was one of the eight original shires of Virginia, formed by the House of Burgesses in the British Colony of Virginia by order of King Charles I, in 1634. The county was largely composed of farms and undeveloped land until almost 250 years later.

In 1881, 15 years of explosive development began under the leadership of Collis P. Huntington, whose new Peninsula Extension of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway from Richmond opened up transportation along the Peninsula and provided a new pathway for the railroad to bring West Virginia bituminous coal to port for coastal shipping and worldwide export. With the new railroad came a terminal and coal piers where the colliers were loaded. Within a few years, Huntington and his associates also built a large shipyard. In 1896, the new incorporated town of Newport News, which had briefly replaced Denbigh as the county seat of Warwick County, had a population of 9,000. In 1958, by mutual consent by referendum, Newport News was consolidated with the former Warwick County (itself a separate city from 1952 to 1958), rejoining the two localities to approximately their pre-1896 geographic size. The more widely known name of Newport News was selected as they formed what was then Virginia’s third largest independent city in population.

With many residents employed at the expansive Newport News Shipbuilding, the joint U.S. Air Force-U.S. Army installation at Joint Base Langley–Eustis, and other military bases and suppliers, the city’s economy is very connected to the military. The location on the harbor and along the James River facilitates a large boating industry which can take advantage of its many miles of waterfront. Newport News also serves as a junction between the rails and the sea with the Newport News Marine Terminals located at the East End of the city. Served by major east-west Interstate Highway 64, it is linked to others of the cities of Hampton Roads by the circumferential Hampton Roads Beltway, which crosses the harbor on two bridge-tunnels. Part of the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is in the city limits.

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History

European settlement

During the 17th century, shortly after founding of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. In 1610, Sir Thomas Gates “took possession” of a nearby Native American village, which became known as Kecoughtan. At that time, settlers began clearing land along the James River (the navigable part of which was called Hampton Roads) for plantations, including the present area of Newport News.

In 1619, the area of Newport News was included in one of four huge corporations of the Virginia Company of London. It became known as Elizabeth Cittie and extended west all the way to Skiffe’s Creek (currently the border between Newport News and James City County). Elizabeth Cittie included all of present-day South Hampton Roads.[9]

By 1634, the English colony of Virginia consisted of a population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. It was divided

Lee Hall

Lee Hall, built in 1859 by Richard Lee.

into eight shires of Virginia, which were renamed as counties shortly thereafter. The area of Newport News became part of Warwick River Shire, which became Warwick County in 1637. By 1810, the county seat was at Denbigh. For a short time in the mid-19th century, the county seat was moved to Newport News.

 

Restoration

Newport News was a rural area of plantations and a small fishing village until after the American Civil War. Construction of the railroad and establishment of the great shipyard brought thousands of workers and associated development. It was one of only a few cities in Virginia to be newly established without earlier incorporation as a town. (Virginia has had an independent city political subdivision since 1871.) Walter A. Post served as the city’s first mayor.

Warwick County (shaded in orange on this 1895 map) was originally one of the eight shires created in colonial Virginia in 1634.

The area that formed the present-day southern end of Newport News had long been established as an unincorporated town. During Reconstruction, the period after the American Civil War, the new City of Newport News was essentially founded by California merchant Collis P. Huntington. Huntington, one of the Big Four associated with the Central Pacific Railroad, in California, formed the western part of the country’s First Transcontinental Railroad. He was recruited by former Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham to become a major investor and guiding light for a southern railroad. He helped complete the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway to the Ohio River in 1873.[12]

Huntington knew the railroad could transport coal eastbound from West Virginia’s untapped natural resources. His agents began acquiring land in Warwick County in 1865. In the 1880s, he oversaw extension of the C&O’s new Peninsula Subdivision, which extended from the Church Hill Tunnel in Richmondsoutheast down the peninsula through Williamsburg to Newport News, where the company developed coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads.

His next project was to develop Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, which became the world’s largest shipyard. Opened as Chesapeake Dry Dock & Construction Company, the shipbuilding was intended to build boats to transition goods from the rails to the seas. With president Theodore Roosevelt’s declaration to create a Great White Fleet, the company entered the warship business by building seven of the first sixteen warships. Today, the shipyard holds a dominant position in the American warship construction business.

Geography

Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia from space, July 1996 (Newport News is seen in the upper left quadrant)

Newport News is located at 37°4′15″N 76°29′4″W (37.071046, −76.484557). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 120 square miles (310 km2), of which 69 square miles (180 km2) is land and 51 square miles (130 km2) (42.4%) is water.

The city is located at the Peninsula side of Hampton Roads in the Tidewater region of Virginia, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Statistical Area (officially known as the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA) is the 37th largest in the nation with a 2014 population estimate of 1,716,624. The area includes the Virginia cities of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, Surry, and York, as well as the North Carolina counties of Currituck and Gates. Newport News serves as one of the business centers on the Peninsula. The city of Norfolk is recognized as the central business district, while the Virginia Beach oceanside resort district and Williamsburg are primarily centers of tourism.

Newport News shares land borders with James City County on the northwest, York County on the north and northeast, and Hampton on the east. Newport News shares water borders with Portsmouth on the southeast and Suffolk on the south across Hampton Roads, and Isle of Wight County on the southwest and west and Surry County on the northwest across the James River.

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Cityscape

Newport News Victory Arch, downtown Newport News

The city’s downtown area was part of the earliest developed area which was initially incorporated as an independent city in 1896. The earlier city portions also included the “Southeast” community, which was predominantly African-American, the “North End” and the shipyard and coal piers. After World War II, public housing projects and lower income housing were built to improve housing in what came to be known as the East End or “The Bottom” by locals. The city expanded primarily westward where land was available and highways were built. While the shipyard and coal facilities, and other smaller harbor-oriented businesses have remained vibrant, the downtown area went into substantial decline. Crime problems have plagued the nearby lower-income residential areas.

Original First Baptist Church in downtown Newport News

West of the traditional downtown area, another early portion of the city was developed as Huntington Heights. In modern times been called the North End. Developed primarily between 1900 and 1935, North End features a wealth of architectural styles and eclectic vernacular building designs. Extending along west to the James River Bridge approaches, it includes scenic views of the river. A well-preserved community, the North End is an historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The 1958 merger by mutual agreement with the City of Warwick removed the political boundary, which was adjacent to Mercury Boulevard. This major north-south roadway carries U.S. Route 258 between the James River Bridge and the Coliseum-Central area of adjacent Hampton. At the time, the county was mostly rural, although along Warwick Boulevard north of the Mercury Boulevard, Hilton Village was developed during World War I as a planned community. Beyond this point to the west, much of the city takes on a suburban nature. Many neighborhoods have been developed, some around a number of former small towns. Miles of waterfront along the James River, and tributaries such as Deep Creek and Lucas Creek, are occupied by higher-end single family homes. In many sections, wooded land and farms gave way to subdivisions. Even at the northwestern reaches, furthest from the traditional downtown area, some residential development has occurred. Much land has been set aside for natural protection, with recreational and historical considerations. Along with some newer residential areas, major features of the northwestern end include the reservoirs of the Newport News Water System (which include much of the Warwick River), the expansive Newport News Park, a number of public schools, and the military installations of Fort Eustis and a small portion of the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown.

At the extreme northwestern edge adjacent to Skiffe’s Creek and the border with James City County is the Lee Hall community, which retains historical features including the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railway station which served tens of thousands of soldiers based at what became nearby Fort Eustis during World War I and World War II. The larger-than-normal rural two-story frame depot is highly valued by rail fans and rail preservationists.

View along Town Center Drive at City Center at Oyster Point, October 2012

In downtown Newport News, the Victory Arch, built to commemorate the Great War, sits on the downtown waterfront. The “Eternal Flame” under the arch was cast by Womack Foundry, Inc. in the 1960s. It was hand crafted by the Foundry’s founder and president, Ernest D. Womack. The downtown area has a number of landmarks and architecturally interesting buildings, which for some time were mostly abandoned in favor of building new areas in the northwest areas of the city (a strategy aided by tax incentives in the postwar years).

City leaders are working to bring new life into this area, by renovating and building new homes and attracting businesses. The completion of Interstate 664 restored the area to access and through traffic which had been largely rerouted with the completion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in 1958 and discontinuance of the Newport News-Norfolk ferry service at that time. The larger capacity Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel and the rebuilt James River Bridge each restored some accessibility and through traffic to the downtown area.

View across the fountain at City Center at Oyster Point.

Much of the newer commercial development has been along the Warwick Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue corridors, with newer planned industrial, commercial, and mixed development such as Oyster Point, Kiln Creek and the City Center. While the downtown area had long been the area of the city that offered the traditional urban layout, the city has supported a number of New Urbanism projects. One is Port Warwick, named after the fictional city in William Styron’s novel, Lie Down in Darkness. Port Warwick includes housing for a broad variety of citizens, from retired persons to off-campus housing for Christopher Newport University students. Also included are several high-end restaurants and upscale shopping.

City Center at Oyster Point, located near Port Warwick, has been touted as the new “downtown”because of its new geographic centrality on the Virginia Peninsula, its proximity to the retail/business nucleus of the city, etc. Locally, it is often called simply “City Center”. Nearby, the Virginia Living Museum recently completed a $22.6 million expansion plan.

Newport News is also home to a small Korean ethnic enclave on Warwick Boulevard near the Denbigh neighborhood on the northern end of the city. Although it lacks the density and character of larger, more established enclaves, it has been referred to as “Little Seoul”—being the commercial center for the Hampton Roads Korean community.

Neighborhoods

Hilton Village

Newport News has many distinctive communities and neighborhoods within its boundaries, including Brandon Heights, Brentwood, City Center, Colony Pines, Christopher Shores-Stuart Gardens, Denbigh, Glendale, East End, Hidenwood, Hilton Village, Hunter’s Glenn, Beaconsdale, Ivy Farms, North End Huntington Heights (Historic District – roughly from 50th to 75th street, along the James River), Jefferson Avenue Park, Kiln Creek, Lee Hall, Menchville, Maxwell Gardens, Morrison (also known as Harpersville and Gum Grove), Newmarket Village, Newsome Park, Oyster Point, Parkview, old North Newport News (Center Ave. area), Port Warwick, Richneck, Riverside, Shore Park, Summerlake, Village Green, Windsor Great Park and Warwick. Some of these neighborhoods are located in the former City of Warwick and Warwick County.

Climate

Newport News is located in the humid subtropical climate zone, with cool to mild winters, and hot, humid summers. Due to the inland location, throughout the year, highs are 2 to 3 °F (1.1 to 1.7 °C) warmer and lows 1 to 2 °F (0.6 to 1.1 °C) cooler than areas to the southeast. Snowfall averages 5.8 inches (15 cm) per season, and the summer months tend to be slightly wetter. The geographic location of the city, with respect to the principal storm tracks, favours fair weather, as it is south of the average path of storms originating in the higher latitudes, and north of the usual tracks of hurricanes and other major tropical storms.

Climate data for Newport News, Virginia (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 49.5
(9.7)
52.9
(11.6)
60.7
(15.9)
71.1
(21.7)
78.5
(25.8)
86.2
(30.1)
89.6
(32)
87.4
(30.8)
82.2
(27.9)
72.5
(22.5)
63.3
(17.4)
53.4
(11.9)
70.6
(21.4)
Average low °F (°C) 31.8
(−0.1)
32.6
(0.3)
39.5
(4.2)
47.8
(8.8)
57.0
(13.9)
66.3
(19.1)
70.3
(21.3)
68.8
(20.4)
62.7
(17.1)
51.7
(10.9)
43.0
(6.1)
34.6
(1.4)
50.5
(10.3)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.33
(84.6)
3.01
(76.5)
3.44
(87.4)
3.33
(84.6)
3.74
(95)
3.81
(96.8)
4.71
(119.6)
5.35
(135.9)
4.79
(121.7)
3.47
(88.1)
3.08
(78.2)
3.38
(85.9)
45.44
(1,154.3)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.4
(6.1)
2.1
(5.3)
0.3
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.0
(2.5)
5.8
(14.7)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 10.4 9.5 10.6 10.1 10.6 9.9 11.1 10.1 8.8 7.6 8.5 9.8 116.8
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.6 1.3 0.4 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 3.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 170.5 178.0 229.4 252.0 272.8 279.0 279.0 260.4 231.0 207.7 177.0 161.2 2,698
Source: NOAA (temperature and total precipitation normals at Newport News Int’l, all others at Norfolk Int’l),  HKO (sun only 1961–1990)

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Demographics

Map of racial distribution in Newport News, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: WhiteBlackAsianHispanic or Other (yellow)

As of the census of 2010, there were 180,719 people, 69,686 households, and 46,341 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,637.9 people per square mile (1,018.5/km²). There were 74,117 housing units at an average density of 1,085.3 per square mile (419.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 49.0% White, 40.7% African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.7% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.5% of the population (2.5% Puerto Rican, 2.5% Mexican, 0.4% Cuban, 0.3% Panamanian, 0.2% Dominican, 0.2% Guatemalan, 0.2% Honduran).

There were 69,686 households out of which 35.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 17.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.04.

The age distribution is: 27.5% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,597, and the median income for a family was $42,520. Males had a median income of $31,275 versus $22,310 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,843. About 11.3% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.6% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Crime

Crime (per 100,000 people) Newport News, Virginia (2007) National average
Murder 15.8 5.6
Rape 51.3 32.2
Robbery 288.9 195.4
Assault 336.2 340.1
Burglary 892.1 814.5
Automobile theft 377.4 526.5

Newport News experienced 20 murders giving the city a murder rate of 10.8 per 100,000 people in 2005. In 2006, there were 19 murders giving the city a rate of 10.5 per 100,000 people. In 2007 the city had 28 murders with a rate of 15.8 per 100,000 people.

The total crime index rate for Newport News is 434.7; the United States average is 320.9. According to the Congressional Quarterly Press’ “2008 City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America,” Newport News ranked as the 119th most dangerous city larger than 75,000 inhabitants. The neighborhood with the highest crime rates in Newport News is the East End.

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Economy

Miss USA 2005 Chelsea Cooley at the christening of the USS North Carolina submarine in 2005.

George W. Bush at the christening of the USS George H.W. Bushsupercarrier in 2006.

Among the city’s major industries are shipbuilding, military, and aerospace. Newport News Shipbuilding, owned by Huntington Ingalls Industries,[40] and the large coal piers supplied by railroad giant CSX Transportation, the modern Fortune 500 successor to the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O). Miles of the waterfront can be seen by automobiles crossing the James River Bridge and Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel, which is a portion of the circumferential Hampton Roads Beltway, linking the city with each of the other major cities of Hampton Roads via Interstate 664 and Interstate 64. Many U.S. defensive industry suppliers are based in Newport News, and these and nearby military bases employ many residents, in addition to those working at the shipyard and in other harbor-related vocations.

Newport News plays a role in the maritime industry. At the end of CSX railroad tracks lies the Newport News Marine Terminal. Covering 140 acres (0.57 km2), the Terminal has heavy-lift cranes, warehouse capabilities, and container cranes.

Newport News’ location next to Hampton Roads along with its rail network has provided advantages for the city. The city houses two industrial parks which enabled manufacturing and distribution to take root in the city. As technology-oriented companies flourished in the 1990s, Newport News became a regional center for technology companies.

Additional companies headquartered out of Newport, the Naval Station Norfolk and other installations are also located.[47][48][49]

Research and education play a role in the city’s economy. The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (TJNAF) is housed in Newport News. TJNAF employs over 675 people and more than 2,000 scientists from around the world conduct research using the facility. Formerly named the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF), its stated mission is “to provide forefront scientific facilities, opportunities and leadership essential for discovering the fundamental structure of nuclear matter; to partner in industry to apply its advanced technology; and to serve the nation and its communities through education and public outreach.”

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Education

The David Student Union at Christopher Newport University

The main provider of primary and secondary education in the city is Newport News Public Schools. The school system includes many elementary schools, six middle schools, and the high schools, Denbigh High School, Heritage High School, Menchville High School, Warwick High School and Woodside High School. All middle, high schools, and elementary schools are fully accredited. Dutrow Elementary is an example of an elementary school that offers a Talented And Gifted program for fifth graders, or rising sixth graders. Crittenden Middle School offers a STEM magnet program to students throughout the district, preparing them for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Warwick High School is widely known for its IB program to prepare students at all grade levels for college course levels of thinking.

Several private schools are located in the area, including Denbigh Baptist Christian School, Hampton Roads Academy, Peninsula Catholic High School, Trinity Lutheran School, and Warwick River Christian School.[citation needed]

The city contains Christopher Newport University, a public university. Other nearby public universities include Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University and The College of William and Mary. Hampton University, a private university, also sits a few miles from the city limits. Newport News Shipbuilding operates The Apprentice School, a vocational school teaching various shipyard and related trades.

Thomas Nelson Community College serves as the community college. Located in neighboring Hampton and in nearby Williamsburg, Thomas Nelson offers college and career training programs. Most institutions in the Hampton Roads areas are home to a variety of students but commuter students make up a large portion.

Information provided by wikipedia.org. This page has been modified from the original.

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

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