In 1890 Mr. Alex Skeeter sold his farm to Mr. Milton Mason of Ohio who, in partnership with a real estate syndicate there, developed Port Norfolk. To promote the new community a contest to name it was held and twelve lots were given away. Houses went up rapidly and with the street car connection from Portsmouth in 1893 the area became a popular resort location.
A flier for the 1893 International Naval Rendezvous in Norfolk promotes Port Norfolk as follows:
You Cannot Afford to Leave the City Until You Have Seen Port Norfolk. Fare is only 15 cents round trip. No finer view of the harbor can be had from any point than from Port Norfolk and no one can afford to miss a trip, which promises so rich a return.
The new Rapid Transit Line is now in operation between Portsmouth and Port Norfolk, and those seeking a place for residence or investment are asked to visit this charming spot. The popularity of Port Norfolk is evidenced by the fact that it is weekly visited by thousands of people who go for pleasure and recreation, eager to avail themselves of its fresh, wholesome air, its splendid view of the harbor, and its countless natural charms. It is conceded by all visitors to be the "Gem of the Harbor".
A few rare bargains which you should inquire into, besides desirable lots 40x140 feet, in the midst of a growing settlement, which we offer at $250 to $400 each. We have 2 and a half acres of suburban property, street car connections with the city, near railway, and not more than three blocks from a new factory. One hundred houses are now needed at Port Norfolk to supply the present demand. The new furniture factory will require houses for at least fifty employees.
If you want an ideal home in an ideal suburb, with all the conveniences of street cars and the fluent marine view on the harbor, build in Port Norfolk. It is the only situation on the inner harbor that commands a view of Hampton Roads. It is high and well drained. The soil is sandy and no surface water to mar the health or comfort of the place. If you want to enjoy life, live at Port Norfolk. Fine fishing, bathing, and boating. The new Chesapeake Hotel at Port Norfolk is "a thing of beauty". Port Norfolk will have the finest parks on the Atlantic coast. It is admirably situated for business, within easy access of the terminus of nine great railroads.
The area was advertised as a boating, fishing and swimming destination. A hotel, two piers, a bathhouse, gas lamps, and wooden sidewalks enticed visitors to the resort area. It is estimated that 80 percent of the homes were built between 1895 and 1920.
The prevailing building style was vernacular Victorian with modified versions of Queen Anne, American Four Square, Colonial Revival, and Arts and Crafts styles. The Queen Anne is easily recognizable with its expansive wraparound porches, irregular roof lines, bays and turrets; the Four Square has a cubic shaped, hipped roof, dormers, a broad front porch, little use of ornament, and generally is built with wood and brick; and the Arts and Crafts style can be identified by the low roof with wide eaves. Porches or verandas are often decorated as carefully as indoor rooms and enjoyed as outdoor sitting areas.
2015 Port Norfolk Civic League
History of Port Norfolk