For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF
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VLR Listing Date 12/09/1986
NRHP Listing Date 03/20/1987
NRHP Reference Number 87000475; 01000613
Occupying the oldest continuously settled area of Virginia’s leading port, this commercial quarter is closely associated with events and developments of Norfolk’s rail, banking, maritime, and naval activities. Within its irregular colonial street pattern is an important mix of late-19th- and early-20th-century commercial architecture, built on the sites of earlier structures. The building styles range from simple commercial vernacular to the grandest classicism. Prominent East Coast architects whose works are represented here include Ammi B. Young (U.S. Customs House, 1859), Charles E. Cassell (Citizens Bank Building, 1897), and John Kevan Peebles (Lynnhaven Hotel, 1906). The rows of narrow brick storefronts on Granby Street, the principal commercial thoroughfare, constitute a cohesive early commercial streetscape. Since 1977 the district has been a conservation project administered by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority which has encouraged the recycling of its area’s older structures.
In 2001, the boundary was increased to recognize that portion of Norfolk’s historic city center located north of the original district. Buildings in the boundary increase date from 1872 through 1949. Among the district’s interesting variety of commercial building types are Norfolk’s earliest tall office buildings, hotels associated with the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, several theaters, early-20th-century banks, department stores, and commercial buildings. Development continued in the 1920s and 1930s. Of particular note are the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects constructed in downtown during the early 1930s, including the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse.
[VLR Listed: 12/6/2000; NRHP Listed: 5/30/2001]
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
Updated: May 10, 2022