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Norfolk History

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In this universe, Church St. definitely remains in place, and preserve as many buildings as possible. I also agree with what became Young Terrace being the “new downtown”, leading up to Church St. I know Tidewater Gardens hinged on the demolition of many buildings along Church St. that were beyond repairable, but the more you can preserve, the better. 

I also work out a compromise between Norfolk and PA/Norfolk Counties. Maybe a city-county partnership. 

Finally, two buildings that I would never have let go: the old train station and City Market. 

8DF00276-6F1B-41A3-9205-1223E39665A3.jpeg

F78809B3-C05E-4AF9-885A-EA9D6FEF2097.jpeg

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Downtown Norfolk Skyline in 1985.  Waterside was still a busy place and had become a part of Norfolk's urban fabric.  I remember those days well when Downtown Norfolk became a destination on the weekends.  In the foreground is the USS America Air Craft Carrier.  

USS_America_(CV-66)_Norfolk.jpg

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On 2/8/2021 at 6:47 AM, EJ_LEWIS said:

Downtown Norfolk Skyline in 1985.  Waterside was still a busy place and had become a part of Norfolk's urban fabric.  I remember those days well when Downtown Norfolk became a destination on the weekends.  In the foreground is the USS America Air Craft Carrier.  

USS_America_(CV-66)_Norfolk.jpg

This is my childhood right here, I remember the occasional trip to downtown Norfolk during these years.  Whenever it was my mom and I, she would always park in the Waterside garage, but when it was my dad driving, we always parked at the surface lots on Boush because they were cheaper. These trips to downtown was some of my first experiences of an "urban" city.

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It's hard to explain, but even with a smaller skyline, something about mid-80s downtown seems to have more density. I know some of those buildings on Main St. were demolished, plus the SMA tower, so maybe that's it.

Looking at the vacant lots, if I could go back to that exact day, I'd definitely like to add 10-15 stories to any planned building that went up, and not take up so much space with six-story parking garages. Our skyline would look much different had they built the towers atop the garages, instead of side-by-side. For what became MacArthur, I can't remember where I saw it, but around that same time, there were plans for a mixed-use development with office towers and retail (I think JCPenney). That would've been an interesting development, plus you still could've built a "mini-mall" around that, maybe taller and not as spread out?

Random, but does anyone remember these two glossy, black light fixtures that sat on the corner of St. Paul and Waterside? They were right in front of the Omni/Sheraton, were probably about 10' tall, and had rows of neon lights that changed colors. I haven't seen this since the late-80s, but at five years old, I was always fascinated by them.

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On 4/3/2021 at 3:10 AM, urbanlife said:

Damn, that video is so depressing.

Yes it is, but its a huge part of Norfolk's history.  I think the era should be studied to ensure nothing like this happens again.  

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This is worth viewing the whole 8 minute clip.   This clip is from a program that aired on WTAR TV 3 in the 1950s and 60s.  The program aired on 9/7/1956 and its interesting to see them talking about adding a new civic arena to Downtown and developing the riverfront. They also talk about redesigning the traffic patterns around Downtown.  You see the beginning planning for Brambleton Ave, St. Paul's Ave and Waterside Dr.    Could this be the beginning of planning for what would become Scope and Waterside?

https://dc.lib.odu.edu/digital/collection/wtar/id/1925/rec/1

Edited by EJ_LEWIS
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The planning for Scope, and Chrysler Hall, yes, and “The Golden Triangle”, and a riverfront hotel “to be the Omni International” and the esplanade in front of it.  For Waterside per se, probably not as much as it predated what Rouse did in Baltimore by some years.  It definitely laid the groundwork for what would become Waterside and Town Point Park. 
 

We all bemoan the loss of many architecturally significant buildings from downtown, but many were lost due to a necessity to widen what were streets which had been designed for horse and buggy traffic. The new streets had to accommodate traffic patterns brought about by suburban “white flight” and the advent of interstates such as the Norfolk - VB Expressway (now 264) and tunnel crossings of the Elizabeth River. There was keen interest in making sure those moving out could easily access remaining businesses, etc.  Surely, more care could have been taken with much of the demolition, but the zeitgeist of those times was much different than it is now regarding preservation. 

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On 4/8/2021 at 9:32 AM, NFKjeff said:

The planning for Scope, and Chrysler Hall, yes, and “The Golden Triangle”, and a riverfront hotel “to be the Omni International” and the esplanade in front of it.  For Waterside per se, probably not as much as it predated what Rouse did in Baltimore by some years.  It definitely laid the groundwork for what would become Waterside and Town Point Park. 
 

We all bemoan the loss of many architecturally significant buildings from downtown, but many were lost due to a necessity to widen what were streets which had been designed for horse and buggy traffic. The new streets had to accommodate traffic patterns brought about by suburban “white flight” and the advent of interstates such as the Norfolk - VB Expressway (now 264) and tunnel crossings of the Elizabeth River. There was keen interest in making sure those moving out could easily access remaining businesses, etc.  Surely, more care could have been taken with much of the demolition, but the zeitgeist of those times was much different than it is now regarding preservation. 

Unfortunately the city chose to sacrifice its history and walkable urban downtown for motorists so they could easily driving in and out of downtown without having to walk around downtown.  It is a real shame that Norfolk chose that route over trying to improve the quality of life in and around downtown. 

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