Commonwealth Preservation Group

Hampton Historic District, Hampton, VA

Downtown Hampton Historic District, Hampton, VA

Downtown Hampton Historic District, Hampton, VA

The Downtown Hampton Historic District is located on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. Before any English settlement was created, however, the general area of Hampton, Virginia was home to a substantial native Kecoughtan village. Hampton itself has its roots in the earliest English settlements at the beginning of seventeenth century Virginia, and is often called the oldest continuous English-speaking settlement in America. Elizabeth City County was officially created in 1634, while the town of Hampton was formed in 1705.

Downtown Hampton Historic District, Hampton, VA  |  Courthouse

Downtown Hampton Historic District, Hampton, VA | Courthouse

Downtown Hampton has been an active port since the end of the seventeenth century when the colonial assembly ordered a port be built there in 1691 and laid out the plat for the original crossroads of King and Queen Streets in the same year. This crossing point represents one of the earliest examples of town planning in America and has been the focal point of downtown Hampton since the Colonial period. Hampton began its history as one of the most important coastal cities in America, but the War of 1812, the burning of the city at the outset of the Civil War, and another substantial fire in 1884 greatly hampered development.

Hampton did not begin to develop as a city until the late nineteenth century with Reconstruction, and as a result most of the buildings date from this period through the mid-twentieth century. In 1952 Elizabeth City County, Phoebus, and the town of Hampton merged to form the City of Hampton, beginning the modern era for the city. The historic district was found significant under Criteria A, C, and D as a very early example of Colonial era town planning, for its development as a town from the Colonial period to the modern era, and for its architectural character and archaeological resources spanning the period from 1691 to 1952.

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