1607 - 1957
This area was blessed with abundant springs famous to mariners for centuries after the great sea captain Christopher Newport visited here enroute to Jamestown in May 1607 in command of the first permanent English settlers of the New World. Thus began the great ports of Hampton Roads.
First called Point Hope, it became Newport News between 1608 and 1619 and is the oldest English place name of any city in America. The name derives by tradition from the news received here of Captain Newport on his return voyages to supply Jamestown.
Newport News was settled shortly after Jamestown and before 1619 was included in the corporation of Kecoughtan. In 1621, an extensive fortified plantation was established by Daniel Gookin, a native of Kent England. It was one of the few places to withstand the Great Indian Massacre of 1622.
The future city was divided in 1634 between Elizabeth City Shire and Warwick River Shire.
While the tobacco convoys made up off Newport News from the earliest days and ships stopped for water, the community was basically devoted to agriculture until the War Between the States, when a large Federal encampment was established. The major part of the Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac (Virginia), ushering in the Age of Iron Ships, took place off-shore in 1862.
Collis P. Huntington founded in 1880 the Atlantic terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway.
In 1882 most of Newport News became a part of Warwick County.
Mr. Huntington further developed the area by establishing what is now the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in 1886.
The county seat of Warwick was moved here from 1888 until 1896, when Newport News became an independent city on January 16.
It was a leading military port in the Spanish-American War and World Wars I and II. The American invasion of North Africa was launched from Newport News in 1942. It is now the largest tobacco and single terminal coal port in the world.
In its shipyard have been built many of the nation's largest and most famous naval and merchant ships, including U.S.S. Newport News, a flagship of the U.S. Navy.
Dedicated May 2nd, 1957