Jump to content

When did you fall in love with your city?


Recommended Posts

I know everyone has pride and love for their hometown. I also know that's not always the case, but for those who love their city, when did you know you love your city? And if you're not from Virginia or not native to the city, town, or county you currently reside, when did you fall in love with it?

It all started for me when I was really young and interested in my neighborhood's past. Then when I was 8, a kid at school had a book with the ruins around the Great Basin in 1865 on the cover. I asked him where that was and he said here and explained to me we were in a war. I asked my aunt at home if we were ever in a war and I was told about the Civil War and shown the book Richmond's Story. I started reading and learning. That year I also got Old Richmond Today.

My great uncle about that same time introduced me to maps through his ADC map of Richmond. After that I begged him for one of my own until he bought me one. I have been faithful to ADC ever since (except the 1995 and 2003 editions). I learned the grid and most of the area roads (I'm still lost in southside Richmond even with a map!) I dreamed of one day being able to drive and visit every place on that map.

By age 11, my aunt and I would take tours of some of the historic places in the city. I loved the things I learned of the past. It was about this time I started appreciating Richmond's architecture and loving what this city really had to offer. It wasn't just a place I lived. Around 14 I dreamed that if I had enough money, I'd fix up some areas of the city particularly a handsome cluster of buildings at 14th and Main... which I am glad to see preserved at the moment. At 15, I received a book on Church Hill for Christmas and I am glad to see much progress in this area since that book was published. At 17, I drew a postcard that I was to send to my art teacher of the city's skyline. I adored it, although I didn't (and still don't) like how many squares we have. The next week, we had to finish the postcard, so I drew the rest of the skyline! I took a class in historic preservation and took more tours around the city of more historic buildings I didn't have access to before. Then I got into pictures.

It started with my neighborhood in 1997. I also took some of the skyline and lined my entire half of the dorm room with those pics. The next year I took pics of some houses listed on a condemned list printed by the city in the paper as well as the blocks demolished for the expanded convention center. I spent most of my time in Fredericksburg during this time and although I love Fred, it doesn't compare to Ric. By this time I adored Richmond and though no other city compared. My cousins would talk about how much they hated the city and why it stunk (lack of excitement and I never understood how one said we didn't have exciting monuments). They'd been doing that for a few years and I'd defend the city over and over. I couldn't imagine living anywhere else, especially outside of Va if I had to move.

I got my digital camera in 2004 and have been taking pics ever since. The more I take pics and the more I drive around, the more I love Richmond! Each time I go to and from work going through the historic neighborhoods, I feel more pride. Even if there are some places left to fix up, I still love the place. I see the potential. All of those experiences have sparked my interest and built my love for my home.

Now that I've bored you all to death, I want to hear about what contributed to your love of your city and when.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 14
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Wow, I never saw this thread. I can't be so specific about when I first fell in love with Norfolk and Portsmouth, but I know it was shortly after I learned to drive. I lived in Larchmont when I was very young and from 8 years old until I graduated high school, my parents lived in Churchland. When I finally had my car, I was actually able to really explore downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth for the first time. The first thing I fell in love with was the view of the Norfolk skyline from Crawford Parkway in Old Town Portsmouth and to this day if I ever go near that area, I make a point to drive or walk down that road. I had one friend who was always just as excited as I was and we did all of our exploring together, mostly Ghent, downtown and Old Town. We learned what buildings you could get on top of (most notably, we learned that there were stairs to the top two storage floors of the old Showcase building and a ladder from the top floor onto the roof) and we always admired the older buildings and the general urbanness of the areas. Mostly though, we were just hoodlums with an unusual ove for our city. I have many mementos of ruined buildings in the area - my prize is a piece of the concrete that once held the name of the old fire station on Effingham St; my pece ways about a hundred pounds and has the fragment "...EADQU.../...TH FIR". I love it and have lugged it around to something like 5 new homes. Somewhere my mischievious love turned into a serious one though, because it has now promted me to get a Masters in American history with a focus on communuity history (any guesses which city I really want to study?). So I don't have a great story or any books that were especially influencial (though I do have a few and I'm always looking for more) but that's how it happened.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I didn't realize that I loved Va Beach until I moved away from it. Before that I just couldn't wait to get away...you know, "the grass is always greener" philosophy. I grew up here in the Pembroke section of town and love the location of our neighborhood. It's fifteen minutes from everything (w/good traffic). Anyways, VB has some history to offer with the First Landing and Cape Henry lights. The Ocean Front town of Virginia Beach just turned 100 and has some old relics of its past to share with visitors and locals alike.

But it's not the past that makes me proudest, it's the future of this city that I like the most. VB has a redeveloping Ocean Front and a growing Town Center to look forward to. In ten years time this city will be just a shadow of its former self, it will be a world class beach resort with an urban flair. I just can't wait for it to achieve its full potential.

As for the entire Hampton Roads region in general...I love everything about it. Although each city works independently they still fit together like a seven piece puzzle. I love it down here, I love the laid back lifestyle that radiates from the ocean. We have the ability to do just about everything that any major city can claim, but then we have the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic to seek refuge and comfort in.

I know that one day career opportunities will take me away from Virginia Beach, but it will always be my home.

PS: I know I breezed over the historical aspects, I was just generalizing, there really is a lot more than I stated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

It was the late 80's/early 90's when a young boy by the name of Tommy was born. On the edge of Queens, New York in the town of Oyster Bay. My uncle, John Venditto was running for the Town Supervisor. A few years passed and he had filled his dream of winning th election, this bringing the family close together. My big Italian family would come to our house and have dinners and parties around once a week. They were some of the greatest times of my life living up there. Fews years passed and by the time I was 7, my dad had announced his job transfer. We were to move to Houston, Texas and I didnt want to go. I alsmot didnt leave New York after my Aunt Kathi offered to take care of me back in Oyster Bay. This didnt sit well with my parents, and before I knew it, I was waving goodbye to my whole family, my whole life in New York. A short drive and a few hour plane ride put us in Houston. It was a hot, muggy, summers day, July 12th, 1996.

We never settled down in Houston, always had lived in an apartment complex. Amli Apartments, paid for by my dads company as a "gift" for moving here on such short notice. I remember asking if they could move the family here as another gift, but that was too much to ask for ^_^ A couple years passed, the summers seemed hotter than ever, the first Christmas in shorts and a tank top. No snow, no sledding, no snowmen for another year. It had been 3 years now and well, we had gotten another call. We were moving for the second time.

This time, to a city by the name of Richmond. I had never heard of such a place, thought it was made up. I hadnt payed much attention to it until I had gotten home from shcool to find the moving truck in front of our apartment. My stuff had been packed that day, and we left the next. I showed no love for Houston on the ride in the car to Virginia. Houston never sat well with me, it was hot, no seasons it seemed.

Virginia here we come! The car ride took us 3 days, stopping each night. Taking us through the cities of New Orleans, Atlanta, and Raleigh. I remember taking a photograph of the welcome to Virginia sign, still have it to this day. My first sights of seeing Richmond, I-95 headed north. I was impressed. The year 1998 and we had made it, now only 6 hours away from family :D Now 7 years have passed, Richmond has blossomed and is becoming more than I could ever dream it could be. I had found my place in life, and I call it, Richmond, Virginia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had to leave for a bit to realize how much Norfolk was a part of me. All I could think about when I left was coming back here and smelling that healing salt water. All my friends were here and the place I moved did things sooo different. Thats why I always take pics now of my city! I'm so glad soo much development is now happening here!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey you can post that in here dude! We don't mind. We all share passion for where we grew up and live now :thumbsup:

Well, if you insist... ;)

I'd already typed it out and needed to post it somewhere, so I started a similar thread on the Louisiana board and posted it there. But since you were so generous as to tell me it's all good, I'll go ahead and post it here again. When I first posted it, I didn't realize I was still in the Virginia forum. But now that you have official confirmation that I'm a total goob, here goes:


Well, when I was very young I remember taking trips into the city with my parents. Looking up at the buildings downtown, I thought they had to be some of the tallest buildings anywhere (little did I know!) My grandparents lived in an old neighborhood in the city, so we'd always get off the freeway downtown and circle back into the neighborhood where they lived. I absolutely loved the "gritty" part of the city on the edges of downtown, and I loved how the skyline looked from that viewpoint as well. Back in the early 80s, a couple of the buildings downtown were still new and even my parents weren't used to seeing them yet.

Then, the oil business in this area hit rock bottom and people were literally running as fast as they could to find jobs in the industry, and that pushed most of them to Houston. The area fell into a very depressed economic state, with wages extremely low, unemployment high, and no hope in sight. This was the beginning of the sickness known as Shreveportitis. People infected with Shreveportitis ranged from the working class commoner, all the way up to the local mayors and city council members. The common denominator among all the people infected with Shreveportitis was that they absolutely hated the city. It was boring, dead, and had absolutely nothing to offer anymore... it was a city, for a time known as the oil capital of the United States, now entirely without an image.

Fast-forward to the mid-90s, particularly 1994. In 1994, the casino industry became a reality in this area. Shreveportitis was so engrained in the minds of this area's residents, however, that everyone just knew the casino industry was going to be a big joke that would do nothing but further hurt the area. That couldn't have been farther from the truth. As the casinos began opening their doors, people quickly realized that these companies offered jobs in almost every sector of the economy, from janitors and card dealers, to cashiers, bartenders, waitresses, and even accountants and human resource officers. In addition to offering these jobs, the casino companies paid higher than all other companies in the area, giving them an advantage in finding employees.

Now that the casino industry had become a part of the local economy, hundreds of people were working again and could finally begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. After a while, these people began buying homes and leaving the slums they were living in. These people were also eating out more and buying cars and other nice items. Naturally, all this activity going on in the area eventually led to even more spinoff economic development, as real estate agents were needed to sell the homes, car salesmen were needed to sell the cars, waitresses and cooks were needed in restaurants, and so on. This domino effect eventually led to national chain stores and restaurants looking at the area for the first time in a decade.

In addition to all the economic effects of the casino industry on this area, there was suddenly a new industry created: tourism (it's now estimated that some 14 million tourists visit this area every year.) This industry eventually led to the construction of even more stores and restaurants, but most of all it led to the construction of thousands of new hotel rooms over the years. Not only did all the casinos in the area eventually build on-site hotels, but other hotels began popping up all over the area. This trend is still continuting today, some 12 years later.

As the casino hotels began being constructed, I once again began taking an interest in my area. I watched this area's tallest hotel (Horseshoe Tower at 26 floors) being constructed and I fell in love with it. It was the most beautiful sight I'd seen in all my life, because it was not only a beautiful building, but it also symbolised the growth occurring in this area. I began saving newspaper clippings of projects proposed for the area and began to take more of an interest in economic development. Not only that, but seeing the hotels being built also got me interested in architecture and design. I began drawing hotels and skyscrapers in my sketch book, and even had the most elaborate design in my high school art class when I drew by hand - in very fine detail - my own fictional city, loosely based on New York City.

Sorry, I went off on a tangent in that last paragraph. To pick up where I left off, as things really started looking up, Shreveportitis started becoming less and less evident. Today, I see signs of Shreveportitis every now and then, but it's extremely rare. Most people I encounter seem to have embraced the new economically and socially diverse Shreveport very well. I know I have. Shreveportitis... what's that!?

I hope this gives everyone an idea of when I became interested in my city!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Shreveport can get away with this, then mine should too :P

Charleston, SC was a city i fell in love with back when i was 16 when i stayed in downtown for a summer. I still visit there to this day but im only there for drinking nights or eating dinner with the parents.

Runner up and the city with the love & hate relationship is New Brunswick, NJ since it is currently a hop and skip away from the house. Urban development is really taking off over there and as the Rte 18 project gets done, it will really beautify the waterfront area in addition to the efforts of improving downtown.

Perhaps Greensboro, NC will be the next city if i get into UNC-Greensboro for college :D

Since im in the VA forum, if i had to pick a VA city i would guess maybe Roanoke cause i do love the mountains if i ever re-located in Virginia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Growing up in Roanoke, I didn't live downtown but frequently sometimes went there to visit my dad at work. I would take trips with my family or church youth group to places all around the region, up to the Harrisonburg area or southwest to hike at the cascades or Mt. Rogers, or to smith mountain lake. I soon realized that only my hometown had an actual downtown, a city downtown. I soon began to see Roanoke as the capital of a large area, (the western half of the state, along with portions of West Virginia). Downtown Roanoke had an environment not available anywhere else west of Richmond.

I frequently visited Richmond growing up, but all my relatives lived out in the suburbs and I never really experienced the city itself until after college.

There is a unique feeling I get when i'm in Roanoke. It

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.