Railroad Station: Washington St. and Depot Ave. for Chesapeake and Ohio Ry.
Bus Station: King and Queen Sts. for Greyhound and Peninsula Transit Lines.
Taxis: Fare $0.25 within city limits.
Streetcars: Local and interurban, fare $0.05 within city and $0.05 for each zone outside.
Traffic Regulations: 15-minute and 1-hour parking limits in business district; 3 public parking lots.
Accommodations: 2 hotels; inns and tourist homes.
Information Service: Tidewater Auto. Ass'n., Langley Hotel, 111 Queen St.
Motion Picture Houses: 2.
Golf: Chamberlin Golf and Country Club, 1 m. E. on US 60, 18 holes, greens fee $1.
Swimming: Chamberlin Golf and Country Club, 1 m. E. on US 60, by arrangement. Sea bathing at Buckroe Beach, 4 m. E. on State 169 off US 60.
Tennis: Chamberlin Golf and Country Club, 1 m. E. on US 60, 1 court, fee $0.75; for other courts, inquire at information service.
Annual Events: Hampton Horse Show, May; Hampton Yacht Club Regatta, including Gold Cup event, 1st week in July.
HAMPTON (3 alt., 6,382 pop.), where settlers came in 16l0 and scene of the first free school in the colonies, is the oldest English community in America.
The little city on Hampton Roads is cut by jagged arms of Hampton Creek. Its early bow-and-arrow street pattern is still explained by oldtimers: Queen Street, shooting through the center of the city, is the arrow; Hope and Court Streets curve to form the bow; taut between them stretches King Street-the string. From this tiny area streets extend in a fairly symmetrical pattern to Bright, Sunset, and Hampton creeks and northward into the narrow peninsula. Along the water fronts mounds of oyster shells and odors of fish and marshland are reminders that the sea is close by.
Large packing plants are centered on Hampton Creek in the northeastern section of the city. On the shore line farther north are several imposing homes of fishing magnates and southward are the cottages of tongers and small fisherfolk. The rest of the city is given over to late Victorian houses and bungalows. Of the 200 boats that operate in surrounding creeks, at least two-thirds are used for fishing and about 40 of these are trawlers that fish off the capes. In 1938 100,000 barrels of crabs, 50,000 gallons of oysters, and 30,000 bushels of unshucked oysters were shipped from Hampton.
Everywhere in Hampton are soldiers, enlisted men, and officers from the Coast Artillery post at Fort Monroe and from Langley Field. Crowds, far out of proportion to the size of the city, move in leisurely fashion, and army cars pass continually along Queen Street. From May through September holiday throngs go through Hampton to and from Buckroe Beach.
Among the Negro population, 44 per cent of the whole, are many educated men and women. The Peoples Building and Loan Association of Hampton has more shareholders and a larger cash revenue than any similar Negro association. Along the waterfront, however, and in several other slum districts live many illiterate and economically distressed Negro families.
Originally Hampton was called Kecoughtan (pronounced Kick-o-tan). Sir Christopher Newport's band of adventurers paused here in 1607 to exchange greetings with the Kecoughtan Indians, named the point to the eastward Point Comfort, then continued to Jamestown. Fort Algernourne was built at Point Comfort in 1609. After the Kecoughtans ceased to be friendly, Sir Thomas Gates drove them away and in 1610 built two stockades on Hampton's rivulet, which Lord Delaware had named Southampton (Hampton) River for the Earl of Southampton, leading spirit of the London Company. The stockades were named Fort Henry and Fort Charles for the sons of James I, and in 1613 each had 15 soldiers. In the vicinity of the stockades were a few planters, and Hamor, secretary of the, colony, said there were 'goodly seats and much com about them, abounding with the commodities of fish, fowle, Deere, and fruits, whereby the men liued there with halfe that maintenaunce out of the Store which in other places is allowed.'
When in 1619 the colony was divided into four 'incorporations' with a proposed chief city for each division, a wide territory on both sides of the James was named Elizabeth City. When the 'incorporations' were divided into counties in 1634, the territory embracing Kecoughtan became Elizabeth City County. In 1620 the land between the creek and Chesapeake Bay was appropriated for public uses, and the portion on the bay, called Buck Roe was assigned to the growing of grapes and mulberry trees.
Hampton's first business man, William Claiborne, arrived in 1630 with authorization from the governor's council 'to make discoveries in the Chesapeake Bay and to trade with the Indians.' He established a profitable post on Kent Island, then thought to be a part of Virginia, and set up a storehouse and a trading base on his 150-acre grant at Kecoughtan. Here he lived during the tumultuous years after 1634 when Lord Baltimore's colonists, with a map that showed Kent Island within their domain, found him and his underlings most mutinous subjects. When the system of inspecting and storing tobacco was inaugurated in 1633, one of the first seven warehouses was established at 'Southampton river in Elizabeth Citty.' The town of Hampton was formally established and named in 1680.
The community knew too well the pirates that infested the Virginia coast in the late seventeenth century. Hampton citizens continually, protested the drunkenness and inefficiency of Captain Aldred, who commanded the Essex-Prize, a pirate-chaser that always lay up for repairs when its services were needed. When the man-of-war Shoreham replaced the Essex-Prize in 1700, Peter Heyman, collector of customs for the James River, was among the Virginians killed in a ten-hour battle that resulted in defeat of the pirates. Governor Nicholson, who had risked his life aboard the Shoreham to watch the engagement, reported that 'Peter Heyman had behaved himself very well in the fight.' Heyman was appointed postmaster in 1692 for all the plantations in Virginia and Maryland, and endeavored to set up an efficient Colonial postal system. In 1718 Captain Henry Maynard, a citizen of Hampton, killed Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard, the most notorious of all the Colonial brigands of the sea, and helped bring piracy to an end.
More than 1,100 Acadians came to Hampton in 1755, and while their ships lay at anchor in Hampton Roads, Governor Dinwiddie and the council engaged in lengthy conferences and much letter writing. The poor exiles were greatly feared, for, said the governor, Virginia had been 'much harassed by that perfidous nation in our back country.' 'It was unkind of the Governor of Nova Scotia,' he continued, 'to send such a number of people here without the least previous notice.' Nevertheless, the Acadians were allowed to land and were cared for until the following spring when Virginia appropriated money for their deportation.
Among the prominent citizens or natives of Hampton were George Wythe (see Williamsburg); James Barron, commodore of the American Navy during the Revolution; Commodore Samuel Barron, commander of a United States squadron in the Tripolitan War; another Commodore James Barron (see Norfolk); and Commodore Lewis Warrington, commander of an American squadron during the War of 1812.
This seaport town also has a military history. Though the British several times skirted Hampton during the Revolution, and though Hampton furnished its share of soldiers, no fighting took place in the immediate vicinity. During the War of 1812, however, the British, exasperated by their failure to take Portsmouth, attacked Hampton in June 1813. Momentarily repulsed by Virginia militia under Major Stapleton Crutchfield, the British rallied and entered Hampton as the Virginians retreated westward. Hampton was incorporated as a town in 1849, though it was authorized by the 'Act of Cohabitation' in 1680. In August 1861 Hampton suffered its greatest loss when the town was burned by its own inhabitants to prevent occupation by the Federals; only five houses remained standing.
At the end of the war ragged soldiers came home to rebuild the city. Hampton Institute became an important center of Negro education. In 1882 a rail line was completed from Richmond to the mouth of the James. Another fire in 1884 wiped out 33 of the newly built residences and stores on Queen Street. Fishermen and oystermen began to bring in their wares for shipping; sea-food plants were started on a small scale and flourished. The establishment of important industries in the Norfolk area helped to bring about Hampton's revival, and in 1908 it was chartered as a city. Langley Field near by, opened in 1917 as a training field, became an important army air base. Hampton carries on today in a manner that isneither aggressive nor wholly complacent. It remains a little city not straining to be large.
ELIZABETH CITY COUNTY COURTHOUSE (open 9-5 Mon.-Fri., 9-1 Sat.), NW. corner King and Court Sts., is a plain red brick building with a low white wooden dome and a portico with four modified Doric columns. The main block was erected in 1876. The first courthouse on this site was erected in 1715 when the county seat was moved to 'Hampton town.' In 1781 the general assembly granted justices permission to hold court elsewhere 'while the court house in Hampton is occupied by troops of our allies as a hospital.'
ST.JOHN'S CHURCH (open daily), NW. corner Court and Queen Sts., is a church of Elizabeth City Parish, which was first called Kecoughtan and established in 1610. Compact and cruciform, its sturdy walls belong to the original structure built in 1728. This replaced the second church erected in 1667 on Pembroke Farm. St. John's was ill-attended in the reaction following the Revolution, and was ransacked during the War of 1812. The vigorous challenge in 1825 of Mrs. Jane Barron Hope, daughter of Commodore James Barron-'If I were a man I would have those walls built up'-brought about restoration of the church in 1827-28, when it was named St. John's. Though partly burned in 1861, the 'old walls honestly built' by Colonial workmen stood firm. The church was restored again in 1869.
A Breeches Bible dated 1599 and a vestry book dated 1751 are preserved here, in addition to a plain silver chalice and paten, hall-marked 1619, sent by Mary Robinson from England. In the churchyard lie many of the city's founders.
BRADDOCK MONUMENT, E. end of Victoria Ave., is a large fat cannon mounted on a stuccoed pedestal, overlooking Hampton Creek. It was erected in 1916 to mark the spot at which General Braddock and his British troops landed in February 1755, preparatory to the tragic expedition against Fort Duquesne.
LITTLE ENGLAND, S. of E. and Victoria Ave., is the flat area lying behind Capps' Point along Sunset Creek. Now occupied by car barns and a power station, it was originally an estate of 500 acres patented by William Capps. The Battle of Hampton was fought here in 1813, following the repulse of the British in their attempt to take Portsmouth.
BLACKBEARD'S POINT, SE. from E. end Victoria Ave., is a triangle occupied by sea food industries. Here in 1718 Captain Henry Maynard set on a pole the head of 'Blackbeard,' brought back when he returned with nine prisoners from the battle that practically ended organized piracy. The prisoners, tried at Williamsburg, were later hanged.
SYMS-EATON ACADEMY, E. end Cary St., in a brick building erected in 1902, is an amalgamation of two of the earliest schools in America. Syms is the oldest free school and the first endowed educational institution in the United States. In 1634 Benjamin Syms left 200 acres and 8 cows to provide a free school for children of the parish. In 1659 Thomas Eaton, a 'cururgeon,' left 500 acres including buildings, livestock, and two Negro slaves for a school to serve Elizabeth City County. The schools were so popular that in 1759 an act was necessary to provide for the attendance of only poor children at Eaton School. In 1805 the schools were merged by act of the general assembly, and called Hampton Academy. In 1852 the academy became part of the public school system. Its building was burned in 1861 and rebuilt after the war.
SITE OF THE FIRST ELIZABETH CITY PARISH CHURCH, Tyler St. near College Place, is in an ancient graveyard identified by an iron fence and marker. Cobblestone foundations have been uncovered, and it is known that a frame church stood here in 1624.
HAMPTON INSTITUTE (open 9-4:30 daily, guide service), E. end of Queen St., one of the foremost Negro educational centers in the world, covers 74 acres on the east bank of Hampton Creek. Its 139 buildings, nearly all of red brick, are scattered over immaculate grounds shaded by fine old trees. Hampton Institute grew out of temporary measures taken when former slaves came to Fort Monroe to satisfy their desire for 'book larnin.' Gathered under the trees, one of which is still called 'Emancipation Oak,' illiterate Negroes of all ages shouted out the letters of the alphabet. At the suggestion of General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, then chief of the Freedmen's Bureau, the American Missionary Association in 1867 purchased the farm where Hampton Hospital had been maintained by the Federal Government during the war. The school opened in the old hospital barracks in April 1868, with Armstrong as principal, two assisting teachers, and 15 pupils. It was chartered as the Hampton Normal and Industrial Institute in 1870. One-third of the $285,000 accruing to the State, after Virginia accepted the provisions of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of Congress that year, was allotted to the institution. Depending largely, however, on contributions from friends of Negro education, especially in the North, it grew rapidly. In 1878, 17 young Indian prisoners of war were sent here from Florida by the Federal Government to be educated. Indians were enrolled until 1923. In the winter session of 1936-37 there were about 200 instructors and 1,024 students. Between 600 and 700 teachers attend the summer school each year. Hampton, now a private corporation, confers the degrees of bachelor of arts, bachelor of science and, in the summer school, a master of science degree in education. The school publishes the Southern Workman, a monthly magazine on general education.
Under General Armstrong's program, the boys were put to 'planting and digging potatoes, while the girls were taught to make and mend clothes, and were instructed in the rudiments of plain English Education.' The students are still trained in hand, as well as mind, and taught primarily how to make a living. There are two main divisions: the trade school teaching everything from bricklaying to tailoring; and the collegiate schools, teaching agriculture, business, education, home economics, library science, and nursing.
The ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, facing the central plaza in the middle of the campus, houses the offices of the president and other school executives. The MUSEUM (open 9-5 weekdays) on its upper floor contains exhibits collected by friends and students of Hampton in Africa, Hawaii, and the Philippines. The African exhibits include musical instruments and fetishes from the upper Congo. The Indian collection, contributed mainly by ex-students, includes a variety of rare items from various American Indian tribes.
OGDEN HALL, E. of the Administration Building, is the main assembly hall, with a stage for the presentation of debates and plays; it seats 2,000. Students gather here each Sunday evening at 7:30 to sing spirituals. This service is open to the public.
The COLLIS P. HUNTINGTON MEMORIAL LIBRARY (open 9-5 weekdays, 3-7:30 Sun.) seats 300 in its main reference room and has special seminar rooms. Among its 55,000 volumes is a special collection of books and pamphlets dealing with the Negro and slavery.
VIRGINIA HALL, facing Ogden Hall, was 'sung up' by Hampton singers shortly after the institute was founded. In 1870 General Armstrong led a group of Hampton singers on a tour of New England and Canada. This and successive tours netted most of the total cost of $98,000. The building contains dining rooms and the girls' dormitory.
DUPONT HALL houses the departments of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, and an auditorium used for seminars and the showing of educational motion pictures.
The SLATER MEMORIAL TRADE SCHOOL includes the 13 trade departments where 200 students work at their respective trades, paying their way by construction and repair work. In 1932 the BEMIS LABORATORIES were erected entirely by student builders as an addition to the trade school. Many buildings on the campus were designed in the Bemis Laboratories and constructed under the direction of students.
The GEORGE P. PHENIX ELEMENTARY HIGH SCHOOL, just S. of campus gate, was erected in 1931. Six hundred pupils from the community attend the school, which serves as a laboratory for education students.
The ARMSTRONG MEMORIAL CHURCH, of Italian Romanesque architecture, is a gift of Frederick Marquand. Most of the construction work was done by trade school students.
WHIPPLE FARM, 80 acres adjoining the campus to the east, and SHELLBANKS FARM, 800 acres on B.ack River adjoining Langley Field, provide agricultural training. Among Hampton's distinguished graduates are Booker T. Washington, Dr. Robert Moton, and Mrs. Janie Porter Barrett, head of the Virginia Industrial School.
Old Point Comfort and Fort Monroe, 3.3 m.; Langley Field, 3 m.; Buckroe Beach 4 m. (see Tour 8a).