Virginia Beach: Main Drag Near the Beach
Image by bill barber
From my set entitled “Virginia Beach”
In my collection entitled “Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Click link to check footnotes
Virginia Beach is an independent city located in the South Hampton Roads area in the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the most populous city in Virginia and the 41st largest city in the United States, with an estimated population of 435,619 in 2006.
Virginia Beach is the easternmost of the Seven Cities of Hampton Roads that make up the core of the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC MSA. This area, known as "America’s First Region", also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties and towns of Hampton Roads.
Virginia Beach is best known as a resort, with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels, and restaurants along its oceanfront. Every year it is host to the East Coast Surfing Championship as well as the North American Sand Soccer Championship that attracts teams from around the world. It is also home to several state parks, several long protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, two universities, and historic sites. Near the point where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean meet, Cape Henry was the site of the first landing of the English colonists bound for Jamestown on April 26, 1607.
The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. It is located at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in the world.
Chesepians were the first inhabitants of the area now known as South Hampton Roads in Virginia of which anything is known. The Algonquian word "Chesepioc" means "Great Shellfish Bay", a reference to the Chesapeake Bay. They occupied an area which is now the independent cities of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.
In 1607, after a voyage of 144 days, three ships headed by Captain Christopher Newport carrying 105 men and boys made their first landfall in the New World where the Atlantic Ocean meets the southern mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in the northeastern part of the city. They named it Cape Henry, after Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King James I of England. However, these English colonists of the Virginia Company of London left the area, as they were under orders to seek a site further inland which would be more sheltered from ships of competing European countries. They created their first permanent settlement at Jamestown.
Adam Thoroughgood (1604-1640) of King’s Lynn, Norfolk, England is one of the earliest Englishmen to settle in the area which became Virginia Beach. At the age of 18, he became an indentured servant to pay for passage to the Virginia Colony. He earned his freedom and became a leading citizen of the area. In 1629, he was elected to the House of Burgesses for Elizabeth Cittie [sic], one of four "citties" (or incorporations) which were subdivided areas established in 1619. 
In 1634, the Colony was divided into the original eight shires of Virginia, soon renamed as counties. Thoroughgood is credited with using the name of his home in England when helping name New Norfolk County in 1637. The following year, New Norfolk County was split into Upper Norfolk County (soon renamed Nansemond County) and Lower Norfolk County. Thoroughgood’s choice of residence after 1634 was along the Lynnhaven River, also named for his home in England. Lower Norfolk County was quite large, and stretched all the way from the Atlantic Ocean west past the Elizabeth River, encompassing the entire area now within the modern cities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.
In 1691, Lower Norfolk County was divided to form Norfolk County and Princess Anne County. Princess Anne, the easternmost county in South Hampton Roads, extended northward from the North Carolina border to Cape Henry at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, and included all of the area fronting the Atlantic Ocean. Princess Anne County was to last from 1691 to 1963, over 250 years.
The small resort area of Virginia Beach grew in Princess Anne County beginning in the late 19th century, particularly after the 1888 arrival of rail service and electricity and the opening of the original Princess Anne Hotel at the oceanfront near the tiny community of Seatack. In 1891, guests at the new hotel watched the wreck and rescue efforts of the United States Life-Saving Service for the Norwegian bark Dictator. The ship’s figurehead, which washed up on the beach several days later, was erected as a modest monument to the victims and rescuers along the oceanfront for more than 50 years, and later became the inspiration for the current matching Norwegian Lady Monuments in Virginia Beach, and Moss, Norway.
Although the resort was initially dependent upon railroad and electric trolley service, the completion of Virginia Beach Boulevard in 1922, which extended from Norfolk to the oceanfront, opened the way for automobiles, buses, trucks, and passenger rail service, the latter of which was eventually discontinued. The growing resort of Virginia Beach became an incorporated town in 1906. In 1927 The Cavalier Hotel opened and became an extremely popular vacation spot for both the wealthy and celebrities of the time. Over the next 45 years, Virginia Beach continued to grow in popularity as a seasonal vacation spot, and casinos gave way to amusement parks and family-oriented attractions. Virginia Beach became politically independent of Princess Anne County as an independent city in 1952, although the numerous ties between Virginia Beach and Princess Anne remained. In 1963, after approval by referendum of the voters of the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County, and with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, the two political subdivisions were consolidated as a new, much larger independent city, retaining the better-known name of the Virginia Beach resort.
Real estate, defense, and tourism are major sectors of the Virginia Beach economy, but the city has begun to run out of clear land available for new construction above the Green Line, an urban growth boundary dividing the urban northern and rural southern sections of the city.
As such, while Virginia Beach does not have a redevelopment authority, local public and private groups have maintained a vested interest in real-estate redevelopment, resulting in a number of joint public-private projects such as commercial parks. Examples of this are the Virginia Beach Convention Center, the Oceanfront Hilton Hotel, and the Virginia Beach Town Center. Using tax increment financing through creation of special tax districts and street and infrastructure construction, the City was able to assist in financing the projects making them a reality. The Town Center opened in 2003 and still has construction taking place, while the Convention Center opened in 2005. 
In addition, some unique structures like the Alan B. Sheppard Dome ("The Dome"), a geodesic dome and convention center designed by Buckminster Fuller and dedicated to the career of astronaut Alan Shepard that was built in the 1960s were destroyed by the city.
Infill and development of residential neighborhoods has placed a number of operating constraints on Naval Air Station Oceana, a major fighter jet base for the U.S. Navy. While the airbase currently enjoys wide support from Virginia Beach at large, the Pentagon Base Realignment and Closure commission has proposed closure of Oceana within the next decade.
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