Newport News and Hampton, VA
|The Styron Home|
|139 Chesapeake Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607-6036|
|Friday, November 14, 2003|
Images by Dave Spriggs ('64) of
Many of us recall the book and film, “Sophie’s Choice”, and the book, “The
Confessions of Nat Turner”.
Fewer may remember the book, “Lie Down In Darkness”, which had many accurate references to the Peninsula.
I recall vividly my recognition of Antine’s from the author’s description of a coffee shop.
By now you may know that the author is William Styron, but you may not know that he spent his boyhood in Newport News.
In the 1930 Census, he was 4 years old, and his family was living in an apartment at 105 – 35th Street, which would have been
very near the corner of 35th and West Avenue. His father was an engineer who worked in the shipyard. Later, however, they moved
to East End at 139 Chesapeake Avenue on the corner of Beechwood Avenue. His description of his main character’s childhood home
in “Lie Down In Darkness” is very reminiscent of this home.
Once I learned the address, I just had to see if the home survived and, if so, to capture an image of it. As you can see,
it has fared well over the years. I wondered if the current residents knew that they were living in a piece of literary history.
Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA -
Wow! Thanks, Dave!
|The Hospital - ADDED 03/30/06|
|Chesapeake Avenue at Buxton Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607|
|Chesapeake Avenue at Maple Avenue, Newport News, VA 23607|
WAY BACK THEN - 1907:
LATER - Fall of 2002:
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 09/27/03
|NOW - May of 2006:|
Remember the magnificent old home, The Anchorage? I am sure glad that we have the old post card and
contemporary image of it, because it is now gone ... leveled .... razed ... history.
I had some very important personal history with that old home, so I was very saddened to see it ... er ..... NOT see it.
Text and Images by Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 05/14/06
|The Scenic Overlook - CREATED 06/08/03|
|Chesapeake Avenue at Manteo Avenue, Hampton, VA 23661|
|Skeeter Beach - CREATED 06/13/06|
|Chesapeake Avenue between Wythe Parkway and Chesterfield Road, Hampton, VA 23661|
|The Credle Home, or Mystery Solved|
|Chesapeake Avenue at Hampton Roads Avenue, Hampton, VA 23661|
|WAY BACK THEN:||NOW:|
|"Boulevard, Looking East from Chesapeake Ferry on Hampton Roads, Newport News, VA"||Saturday, October 9, 2004||December 2005|
Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of
VA - 05/19/03
Image by Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA - 10/09/04
Image by Steve Silsby
(FHS - '73) of NC - 12/14/05
On a Saturday
morning, I was headed to the Peninsula on errands, so I thought I would see if I
"Then" images for which I had not yet taken the "Now" shot. Among them was this one.
I had looked at
it many times and wondered just what ferry they were talking about. I had never
heard of a ferry landing
on Chesapeake Boulevard (Avenue), but it had to be east of Peterson's Yacht Basin and the Hampton City line. So I cruised
along at 10 MPH looking for the distinctive masonry at the sidewalk, but could not find it as I crossed the line into Hampton. I
decided to continue past the area where there are homes on both sides of the road.
And then I saw the home, located at the corner of Hampton Roads Avenue, which does not exist in the old image. The masonry
columns had survived and were easily recognizable. I parked and tried to set up the shot, but there were just too many trees still
in bloom, so I resolved to return in the winter. However, I did see a lady in the yard, so I walked over with my printed copy of the
image and told her that she might be interested in an old image of her home. Indeed she was, and we spoke for 20 minutes about
my addiction to "Then & Now" images and her love for her old home. She also said that she had heard from the old-timers that a
ferry had indeed once docked at the point of land, roughly where the photographer stood in the old image.
As it came time to leave, I gave her the image, and we exchanged names. She said her name was Judy Credle, although I only
heard it phonetically. I asked if it was C-r-e-d-l-e ... Credle, and she said it was. I said that this was a monumental coincidence as
I had attended NNHS with a Marty Credle, whose name is now Dabbs and lives in TN. She replied, "Oh, you mean my husband,
Harvey's sister." I said, "NO-O-O WAY-Y-Y-Y!!!", and she replied, "HU-WAYYYY!!" It seems that Harvey is 4 years younger
than Marty and attended NNHS before transferring to Ferguson, where he graduated. Well, we spoke for another 15 minutes. I
told her that Harvey was eligible to attend the Reunion, if he wished.
As I departed, I decided to take the shot anyway.
Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA -
WOWZERONI! Thanks, Dave!
I can’t get over this story! I know how that postcard has bugged you for so long!
And what a surprise ending!! Incredible!!!
DON'T YOU MEAN
- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/12/04
Why, yes! I do indeed, David! WILD GIGGLES!!!
Here is some
additional information related to Dave Spriggs' ('64 of VA) postcard photo of
Avenue waterfront near Hampton Roads Avenue. The postcard photo was stated to have been taken from a
Chesapeake Ferry Co. site or vessel.
identity of that ferry boat landing is given in Newport News 325 Years,
by The Newport News Golden Anniversary Corporation, which apparently was a group of prominent NN citizens
who hastily had something put together and printed for the celebration.
My friend, the late Parke Rouse, was on the team.
On page 302 the Chesapeake Ferry Co.'s beginnings are described:
double-ended ferry service for the transportation of passengers and vehicles was
established by the
Chesapeake Ferry Co. in 1912. When the company started it was thought that business from both Hampton
and Newport News could be secured if the Peninsula terminus was placed at a spot midway between the two
cities and accordingly a slip was built at the end of Manteo Avenue on the Boulevard. After struggling
with this location for about two years the company realized its mistake, for in hoping to get the trade from the
two cities, it actually got but little from either. So after the Municipal Boat Harbor was built in 1914 it moved
its slip to that location where it has been ever since. In 1925 another firm, the Hampton Roads Transportation
Co., instituted a ferry service from Old Point Comfort to Willoughby Spit. This company was bought out
by Chesapeake Ferry Corp. in 1929. A complete list of the Chesapeake Ferry steamers is given elsewhere
in this volume."
In the latter 1930s I was busy laying bicycle tire tracks all
over the Boulevard. My grandfather told me about the
original ferry landing at the end of Manteo Avenue and the next day I was on-site to look for artifacts. Sure
enough, there were a few pier pilings still in place. But one would never have suspected that a ferry landing had
ever been there.
Nostalgic best wishes,
Fred Field ('45) of CA - 01/04/05
WOWZERS! Thanks for solving that mystery for us, Fred!
|Alleghany Road at Chesapeake Avenue, Hampton, VA 23661|
Courtesy of Jerry Blanchard ('62)
of VA - 03/07/11
|The Historical Marker|
|Chesapeake Avenue at East Avenue, Hampton, VA 23361|
WAY BACK THEN - March 9, 1862
NOW - Saturday, October 18, 2003
First Battle of Ironclads
"BATTLE BETWEEN THE MONITOR AND MERRIMAC"
Historical Marker Commemorating
Battle of the Merrimac
and the Monitor
Corner of Chesapeake and
East Avenues Opposite
- Carol Buckley Harty ('65)
of NC - 11/03/03
Courtesy of Bob Buchan ('61)
of VA - 09/29/05
|- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 11/02/03|
|Chesapeake Avenue at the Indian River, Hampton, VA 23361|
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/08/06
June 2, 2006 the Daily Press ran an interesting article regarding the
reconstruction of Chesapeake Avenue
in Hampton from the Newport News City west to LaSalle Avenue. It seems the residents were concerned
about speeding motorists on the road, and speed bumps were installed but they did not deter the speeders.
Next, the City
of Hampton reduced the number of traffic lanes from four to two in hopes of
slowing down traffic
on the avenue. Now there seems to be quite a controversy among the residents; some are taking advantage
of the newly acquired space to improve the landscape of their property, while others complain that they lost
the parking lane that existed before the street was narrowed.
I am sure you will remember the Hampton Roads overlook spot at the confluence of the Indian River.
Looks like one of Our Old Stomping Grounds had a make over, and not everyone is pleased.
- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 06/08/06
(This page was created on 09/27/03.)
"East Side, West
Side" midi courtesy of
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/12/03
Back to Our Old Neighborhoods
Back to Our Old Stomping Grounds
Return to NNHS Class of 1965