Since their early 20th-century beginnings as streetcar suburbs of Norfolk, Virginia, the adjoining historic neighborhoods of Colonial Place and Riverview have evolved into a vibrant, active community that a diverse citizenry now calls home. The story of that transformation has been beautifully documented in the book Colonial Place and Riverview: One Hundred Years of History, a fascinating and informative hardbound pictorial capturing a century of life in two of Norfolk’s most venerable neighborhoods.
Officially designated as National Historic Districts, both Colonial Place, which enjoys ties to the Jamestown Exposition of 1907, and Riverview proudly claim placement on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. From the area's forward-thinking founders to the trailblazers who made it the first successfully integrated district in the city, the community's history is filled with people who shared a unique and special vision for Colonial Place and Riverview.
Shaded by oaks and crape myrtles and cooled by riverfront breezes, the area is naturally beautiful, offering ready access for all to the shoreline. The community's greatest asset, though, is its people, a diverse cross-section of citizens that includes elected officials, artists, lawyers, medical professionals, skilled tradespeople, educators, writers, small-business owners, military personnel, and students. The story of Colonial Place and Riverview is one of people – people caring for their community, their city, and each other.
A Bold Community History
Nominated for a Virginia Literary Award, Colonial Place and Riverview: One Hundred Years of History is endorsed by the Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League, and is a fundraiser for the community organization, with proceeds going to the Civic League. Co-authors Artemis Stoll and Susan VanHecke are residents of Colonial Place.
In conducting their research, the authors collected photos and oral histories from residents, past and present. The archivists and librarians at the Norfolk Public Library’s Sargeant Memorial Room, Norfolk Historical Society, Library of Virginia and Tidewater Regional Preservation Office were also vital to making the book interesting and informative.
Key to the research was Norman H. Pollock, Ph.D., a retired Professor of History at Old Dominion University and a long-term resident of Colonial Place. Pollock, who co-authored a case-study about the community in 1975, played a pivotal role as a community leader in the neighborhoods’ history in the 1960s, when Colonial Place and Riverview faced the pressure of desegregation and white-flight to the suburbs. During a time of dramatic social change, when emotions ran high, the residents of Colonial Place and Riverview provided leadership and stabilized their communities, evolving into one of the first racially and economically diverse neighborhoods in the state, and becoming a model for other communities to follow.
In his Foreword to Colonial Place And Riverview: One Hundred Years Of History, Pollock sums up the two neighborhoods by saying, “…Colonial Place and Riverview offer a fresh take on community; a place where one can find a real sense of belonging, a place to live happily in an atmosphere of economic and racial diversity.”
Neighbors Working Together To Preserve History
A local real estate firm and two Colonial Place residents provided the financial underwriting for the publication. William E. Wood and Associates Realtors, along with David Block, GRI, SRES, an Associate Broker, and Theresa Nock, CSP, SRES, a Sales Associate, both with the William E. Wood firm, made it possible for the community’s diverse and colorful history to be captured in an heirloom-quality volume, of which all Norfolk residents can be proud.
“So many people helped make this happen,” said Stoll. “But that’s the nature of our community. People in Colonial Place and Riverview are willing to volunteer, roll up their sleeves and get things done.”
Purchase Your Copy Today
Colonial Place and Riverview: One Hundred Years Of History is available for purchase online at www.amazon.com.
COLONIAL PLACE AND RIVERVIEW
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF HISTORY
By Artemis Stoll and Susan VanHecke
Donning/ Hardcover/ 72 pages
ISBN 978-1-57864-387-5/ $24.95
Proceeds benefit the Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League