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A City Grows
1881McLean Map

In 1881, civil engineer Eugene E. McLean created the first map of Newport News that was used to lay out the city.

Newport News Light & Water Company Contract 1891Newport News
Light & Water Company Contract

A special enterprise of the ODLC was the Newport News Light & Water Company under whose name the Land Company acquired a large amount of watershed property throughout the Peninsula and set up the nucleus of the present day water works owned by the City of Newport News. This artifact is an indenture (contract) between the ODLC and Newport News Light & Water Company dated December 12, 1891. This indenture gave the Newport News Light & Water Company the right to place, lay, put and locate its water pipes along and under all and singular tracts or parcels of land owned by the ODLC.

First National Bank Building

1895First National
Bank Building

This photograph shows the First National Bank Building that was located at 28th Street and Washington Avenue. Established by a December 1, 1888 charter, the bank first operated in the Warwick Hotel under the name of the Bank of Newport News. Stockholders later applied for a national charter and it became the First National Bank on September 19, 1891.

“With a view of supplying Newport News with an abundance of pure water, and in time to come furnish light for the town, the Newport News Light and Water Company, with capital of $1,000,000 has been organized, and valuable water rights have been secured. Careful surveys have been made and a substantial and complete plant is now being constructed. . .
Careful examination of the water supply and analysis of the water reveals the fact that it is remarkably pure and wholesome, and superior in quality to the water furnished New York and other large cities.”
Facts Concerning City of Newport News, Virginia, ODLC, 1892

Warwick County Courthouse Warwick County Courthouse

The Court House Building shown in this image was built in 1891. This building served as the County Court House until 1896 when Newport News incorporated as an independent city. This court house building served the City of Newport News until 1948.

Warwick County Courthouse 1896City Seal

The Court House Building shown in this image was built in 1891. This building served as the County Court House until 1896 when Newport News incorporated as an independent city. This court house building served the City of Newport News until 1948.

The U.S. Custom House and Post Office 1904 The U.S. Custom House and
Post Office

The postcard depicts the U.S. Custom House and Post Office located on the corner of 25th Street and West Avenue. Built in 1904, this building remains a functioning U.S. Post Office today.


Lee Hall Map 1904 Lee Hall Map

This map identifies plats of lots at Lee Hall including Lee Hall Station and Skiff’s Creek.

The Elizabeth Buxton Hospital 1917 The Elizabeth Buxton Hospital

The hospital was founded by Doctor Joseph Thomas Buxton in 1906 and included a School of Nursing. The postcard shows the building located on the corner of what was Boulevard and Cypress Avenues. The corner is now the intersection of Buxton Avenue and Chesapeake Avenue.
The Virginiana Room at Main Street Library holds a five-volume scrapbook collection dedicated to the Buxton Hospital, created by Dr. Buxton’s daughter, Helen C. Buxton.


1890s – Early 1900s Hell’s Half Acre

As a product of industrialization and the aftermath of the Civil War an area of ill-repute grew in lower Newport News which came to be called Hell’s Half Acre. During the 1890s and early 1900s this area catered to sailors from ships which c alled at our port and a rough element of locals. Saloons were concentrated along Washington and Huntington Avenues, between 23rd and 24th Streets, close to the Chesapeake & Ohio docks. Houses of prostitution lined 24th Street from downtown over to Warwick (now Terminal) Avenue. After WWI, Prohibition ended the saloons.