"From the Sea to the Stars"
The recovery that began with the seafood and hotel industries after the Civil War continued well into Hampton fourth century. Oysters and d crabs were packed and shipped around the world. Tourism got a boost when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad ran a spur from the new town of Phoebus to Buckroe Beach. After a disastrous fire that leveled the Chamberlin Hotel in 1920, a new Chamberlin later reopened and tourists again flocked to Old Point.
By far the most important economic development in the new century was the government decision in 1916 to locate a flying field north of town, named for aviation pioneer Samuel P. Langley. It would become a major center for the growing Army Air Corps, then evolve after World War II into Langley Air Force Base.
At the same time, a new laboratory for the burgeoning science of flight opened nearby. The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, NACA, led the way in improving aircraft performance. When the space age dawned, its name became NASA, and here were trained the nation astronauts who would take mankind first steps on the moon. In 1985, Hampton past and future became defined by the words "From the Sea to the Stars."
As surrounding farms began giving way to suburban development, Hampton, Phoebus, and Elizabeth City County were consolidated in 1952 to make up the present boundaries of Hampton City. In 1960, under the leadership of School Superintendent C. Alton Lindsay, Hampton began the desegregation of its public school system, four years prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and without a court order.
The soaring Hampton Coliseum opened in 1970, providing a venue for sports, conventions, entertainment, recreation, and shows, and attracting millions over the years. In 1972 and 2002, Hampton was named an All-America City.
(left) Downtown Hampton around 1900. Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
(lower left) Fire completely destroyed the first Chamberlin Hotel on MArch 7, 1920. It was replaced by the Chamberlin-Vanderbilt Hotel, which opened in 1928. Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
(upper right) The Hampton Coliseum is an entertainment venue on which construction begun in l968 and has housed numerous sporting events and musical acts including performances by Elvis Preley, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, and many more. The Coliseum is pictured here in 1970. Courtesy of the Hampton History Museum
(lower right) The full-scale wind tunnel at NACA became operational in 1931. Courtesy of NASA Langley Research Center Public Affairs Office