Three markers today, all from the very short block of City Hall Avenue between Monticello Avenue and Granby Street.
Location: City Hall Ave & Monticello Ave, Norfolk, VA 23510
Visited: July 3, 2009, 2:05pm
Transcription of marker: Town Back Creek, extending eastwardly from the Elizabeth River almost to St. Paul’s Church, was the northern end of the original town of Norfolk. By the early 1800’s new residential development had occurred north of the creek. Two early footbridges connected this newer area to the old town, one at Catherine (now Bank) Street in 1798 and one at Granby Street in 1801. In 1818 – 1819 the one at Granby Street was replaced by Stone Bridge. It was built by William H. Jennings and was distinguished by an arched rise at its center. The bridge remained a local landmark until 1884 when filling of Town Back Creek to Granby Street was completed. City Hall Avenue was developed in 1885 as a grand boulevard from the City Hall (now MacArthur Memorial) to Granby Street. Most of the remainder of Town Back Creek was filled by 1905 and City Hall Avenue was extended westward. Major construction at this corner included the Monticello Hotel in 1898 and the Royster Building in 1912.
My impressions: Coming into a new place, it is quite hard to think of an urban downtown area as ever having been anything else. In most cases, very few traces of that earlier time remain, other than a river or railroad that may run through or past the city. Today, I would not have known that bridges were once needed in what is now downtown Norfolk. Always interesting to see those markers which are reminders of things we can’t see today.
Markeroni status: Direct-logged.
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