1982, Lionel Brown and Grove Franklin, in the Bureau of Surveys, teamed up to
produce a map in celebration of Norfolk’s tri-centennial. They used an 1899 map
to overlay sites found in research and on older maps—noting “gallows” and
“ducking stool” as well as churches, businesses and roads no longer evident today.
CPRV residents will appreciate the fact that a large network of waterways were
filled in over time—areas that historically still flood, as if the creeks and
rivers are returning to their ancient beds. This one gets me: “a loaded barge
landed here – 1775” at what’s now Tidewater Drive just south of the Jewish
Cemetery at Princess Anne Road—which was itself a tributary of Smith’s Creek,
now an abbreviated Hague at Chrysler Museum.
I’ve used this map for 30 years and every time something new shows up. There are literally hundreds of features—names of people, references to ‘powder magazines,’ a wharf system that included destinations to Bermuda and India and elsewhere. It speaks to the international importance of our city as a mid-Atlantic port. The map and its finding aid is a terrific complement to any reading you might do on early Norfolk. Various dates are tucked in with historic notes—annexations, stats on the Elizabeth River, when a road was paved or when a structure burned down. Cedar Grove Cemetery, the city’s oldest municipal cemetery, is shown with its earliest boundaries, along with a Potter’s Field where New England resident Ruth Henshaw Bascom saw 400 graves of those who perished two autumns in a row—immediately after the land’s purchase in 1799.
By Cheryl Copper, CPRV resident and local historian
Maps and finding aids are available for immediate distribution!
The money generated from map sales goes directly into NSCC’s efforts to conserve tombstones, metal fences, mausoleums that have fallen into disrepair.
Maps are available for purchase ($5.00) in the Surveys Division at Norfolk City Hall (7th floor, 810 Union Street) or by contacting Cheryl Copper at ([email protected]).