Becoming Hampton: Dates to remember

Hampton (Hampton, Virginia)Hotel and Accommodation IndustryEnglandFort MonroeScienceElizabeth CityPhoebus (Hampton, Virginia)

Sept. 12, 1570 Spanish Jesuits stop at Indian village of Kecoughtan en route to establishing settlement on the York River.

1597 Chief Powhatan's warriors seize Kecoughtan and install his son Pochins as chief.

April 30, 1607 English settlers land at Kecoughtan en route to establishing settlement at Jamestown.

Dec. 29, 1608 English settlers led by Capt. John Smith seek shelter from nor'easter at Kecoughtan village, observing the first recorded Christmas in English America.

Oct. 11, 1609 English settlers establish Fort Algernourne at Old Point Comfort.

July 9, 1610 Sir Thomas Gates drives Indians from Kecoughtan, followed by the construction of Forts Henry and Charles at the mouth of the Hampton River.

July 30, 1619 The "ancient borough" of Kecoughtan is renamed Elizabeth City.

Aug. 20, 1619 First recorded Africans in Virginia land at Old Point Comfort.

Jan. 3, 1624 William Tucker is born in Elizabeth City, becoming the first African-American child born in America.

1634 Elizabeth City becomes one of the 8 original Virginia counties.

Feb. 10, 1634 Benjamin Syms bequeaths property to establish 1st free school in nation.

Aug. 27, 1667 Great hurricane strikes Elizabeth City County with 12-foot storm surge.

October 1692 Trustees lay out a new town on the Hampton River after the ports and towns act establishes a town, port of entry and customs house.

October 1706 Hampton is named for Earl of Southampton.

Jan. 3, 1719 An expedition led by Royal Navy Lt. Robert Maynard returns from defeating Blackbeard the Pirate in North Carolina and places his head on a pike at the mouth of the Hampton River.

June 17, 1727 Builder Henry Cary Jr. begins work on what is now St. John's Episcopal Church.

Oct. 19, 1749 Great hurricane destroys Fort George at Old Point Comfort.

March 2, 1755 Elements of British Gen. Edward Braddock's expedition arrive in Hampton for the French & Indian War.

Oct. 25, 1775 British naval forces bombard Hampton, damaging St. John's Church and other buildings.

June 25, 1813 British forces under Adm George Cockburn sack Hampton, sparking national outrage and a cry for improved coastal defenses.

March 1819 Construction begins on Fort Monroe.

Jan. 17, 1822 Investors win approval to build the Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort near Fort Monroe.

April 5, 1825 U.S. Army establishes the Artillery School of Practice at Fort Monroe.

July 6, 1829 President Andrew Jackson makes first of many visits to the Rip Rips, now Fort Wool.

May 7, 1831 Army engineer Lt. Robert E. Lee reports for duty supervising construction of the moat at Fort Monroe.

March 10, 1840 Baltimore Steam Packet Company begins daily steamship service to Old Point Comfort.

July 3, 1844 President John Tyler and his wife Julia Gardiner Tyler visit Old Point Comfort during their honeymoon.

Sept. 17, 1849 Edgar Allan Poe presented his last public reading of his poetry on the veranda of the Hygeia Hotel.

May 2, 1861 Hampton ratifies Virginia's decision to secede from the Union.

May 24, 1861 Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler refuses to return fugitive slaves, using their status as "contraband of war" to make Fort Monroe a sanctuary for runaways.

June 10, 1861 Union and Confederate forces meet in first clash of Civil War at Battle of Big Bethel.

Aug. 7, 1861 Confederate soldiers led by Hampton resident J. C. Phillips burn town to prevent it from being used by Union soldiers or contraband slaves.

Sept. 17, 1861 Mary Peake, a free-born African-American resident of Hampton, begins teaching "contraband" slaves to read.

March 9, 1862 U.S.S. Monitor steams out to meet C.S.S. Virginia in first battle between ironclad warships.

May 6, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln arrives at Fort Monroe to witness taking of Norfolk.

Jan. 1, 1863 First Virginia reading of Emancipation Proclamation takes place under what is now known as the Emancipation Oak.

May 19, 1865 Captured Confederate president Jefferson Davis brought to Fort Monroe for imprisonment.

April 6, 1868 Hampton Normal & Agricultural Institute, now Hampton University, opens as a training school for emancipated slaves.

July 10, 1876 Harrison Phoebus buys Hygeia Hotel and builds nationally known resort.

1879 Seafood pioneer James McMenamin opens first crab processing plant on Hampton River, putting the crab in "Crabtown."

1881 J.S. Darling & Son opens on the Hampton River, quickly becoming the largest oyster processor in the world.

April 9, 1884 Fire devastates the Queen Street business district in Hampton.

April 4, 1896 First Hotel Chamberlin opens at Old Point Comfort.

June 20, 1897 Buckroe Beach Hotel opens with a dance pavilion and soon-to-be famous amusement park.

April 1, 1900 Phoebus, formerly Chesapeake City, is named for hotelier Harrison Phoebus and incorporated into a town.

Aug. 7, 1917 Named in honor of aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley, Langley Field opens as joint project of the Army Signal Corps and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

March 7, 1920 Fire destroys the first Hotel Chamberlin at Old Point Comfort.

July 11, 1920 Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory is dedicated as the home of NACA.

Sept. 23, 1921 Army bombers led by Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell leave Langley Field to destroy the obsolete battleship U.S.S. Alabama off the Virginia capes, demonstrating military value of air power.

Feb. 11, 1929 Second Chamberlin Hotel opens.

Aug. 23, 1933 Hurricane devastates Buckroe Beach, Langley Field, Old Point Comfort and Hampton.

March 1, 1935 Langley Field becomes center of tactical aviation for U.S. Army.

April 21, 1938 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt dedicates Aberdeen Gardens black housing project.

Feb. 2, 1943 Army completes Military Highway, now Mercury Boulevard.

July 1, 1952 Hampton consolidates with Elizabeth City County and the Town of Phoebus.

Nov. 1, 1957 The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel opens.

Oct. 1, 1958 The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics becomes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

April 27, 1959 First seven astronauts begin training at NASA Langley for the Mercury program.

Dec. 30, 1959 Old Bay Line Steamer "City of Richmond" makes final call at Old Point Comfort.

March 6, 1962 Ash Wednesday storm causes extensive flooding in coastal Hampton.

June 30, 1965 NASA Langley opens Lunar Landing Research Facility to train Apollo astronauts to land on the moon.

Jan. 31, 1970 Hampton Coliseum dedicated with performance by Jack Benny.

Sept. 18, 2003 Hurricane Isabel cause severe damage across Hampton.

Compiled by Mark St. John Erickson

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