Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is an independent city located the South Hampton Roads area in the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 425,257, making it the most populous city in the state.
Virginia Beach is best known as a major resort, with miles of beaches and dozens of hotels, motels, and restaurants. It is also home to several state parks, several long protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations, and two universities, Virginia Wesleyan College, a private liberal arts college, and Regent University, a private university founded by Pat Robertson which is almost totally dedicated to graduate education. Robertson's TV talk/news show, The 700 Club, is produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network, whose headquarters and principal studios are in the city and adjacent to the Regent campus.
The city is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world and as the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, the longest bridge-tunnel complex in existence.
1.1 Cape Henry: First landing
Cape Henry: First landing
The first landfall of the Jamestown colonists in 1607 was at Cape Henry, in the northeastern part of today's city. Today, the site is within the boundaries of Fort Story , a U.S. Army installation used for training by the Army, Navy, and Marines. A memorial cross near the landing site is accessible to the general public. First Landing State Park nearby was named to commemorate this event.
1634-1963 Shire to County
During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607, English settlers and explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. In 1634, the King of England directed the formation of eight shires (or counties) in the colony of Virginia. One of these was Elizabeth City Shire, which included land area on both sides of Hampton Roads.
In 1636, New Norfolk County was subdivided from it, including all the area in South Hampton Roads now incorporated in the five independent cities located there in modern times. The following year, in 1637, it was divided into into Upper Norfolk County and Lower Norfolk County. In 1691, Lower Norfolk County was in turn divided to form Norfolk County and Princess Anne County.
Incorporated as town in 1908, city in 1952
Beginning in the late 19th century, the small resort area of Virginia Beach grew in Princess Anne County, particularly after 1888 with the arrival of rail service and electricity. It was incorporated as a town in 1906 and became a city from Princess Anne County in 1952.
However, in the mid 20th century, the western borders of Princess Anne County lost territory to annexation suits by the City of Norfolk which adjoined it after annexing all of the northern portion of Norfolk County. A merger with the tiny city of Virginia Beach became seen as a way to prevent the independent City of Norfolk from annexing more (or potentially all) of Princess Anne County.
1963: consolidation with Princess Anne County
In 1963, after approval of the voters of both the City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County, and with the approval of the Virginia General Assembly, the two political subdivisions were consolidated as a new, much larger independent city, retaining the better-known name of the Virginia Beach resort. About the same time, at similar risk of annexations, the remaining portion of Norfolk County took similar action, consolidating with the small independent City of South Norfolk and forming another new city. The City of Chesapeake became Virginia Beach's new neighbor to the southwest.
Today, most of the area formerly in Princess Anne County when it was formed in 1691 is now located within the City of Virginia Beach. The only exceptions are some territory of the northwestern portion which became part of the City of Norfolk through annexation and a land swap agreement between the two cities in 1988.
1989: Greekfest riots
In 1989, thousands of African-American students arrived on Labor Day Weekend for Greekfest, so named for the Greek alphabet used by the fraternities and sororities involved in the festival. Many people predicted a riot weeks in advance, and this came to pass. Casual observers suggested that the city went out of its way to make the students feel unwelcome; that the students rioted not out of anger, but out of a simple desire for the clothing displayed in the shops along the Boardwalk; and that the police were out of control, attacking anyone who was black, looter or not. Two slogans commonly heard in the following weeks were: "It's a black thing; you wouldn't understand" and "It's a cop thing; we'll make you understand." The incident was immortalized by Public Enemy in their song "Welcome to the Terrordome" from their album Fear of a Black Planet (1990). Today, the city hosts the American Music Festival and the Rock and Roll Half-Marathon on Labor Day Weekend with great success and no public district.
Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state of Virginia in terms of population. Frank W. Cox High School holds the state title for most Wachovia Cups (Athletic Achievement).
The superstar hip-hop and pop music production duo of Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, better known as The Neptunes, were both raised in Virginia Beach (Williams was also born there; Hugo was born in nearby Portsmouth), and operate their recording studio in the city.
Additionally, the city was the set for much of the movie Navy SEALs , starring Charlie Sheen. Some filming also occurred in Norfolk (wedding scene, bridge dive) and Portsmouth (golf course).
Beltway Sniper Trial
Virginia Beach made national headlines in 2003 when it hosted the first trial of convicted Beltway sniper murderer John Allen Muhammed. The area was selected due to the order for a change of venue. His trial began in October 2003, and the following month, he was found guilty of capital murder. Four months later, the judge agreed with the jury's recommendation, and he was sentenced to death. He is awaiting execution on Virginia's death row in Waverly, Virginia.
When the consolidation of the 253 square mile Princess Anne County and the 2 square mile City of Virginia Beach occurred in 1963, the newly expanded independent city of 255 square miles thus created was divided into seven boroughs:
- Princess Anne
- Virginia Beach
Effective July 1, 1998, five of the seven boroughs of Virginia Beach were replaced by voting districts for election purposes. Blackwater and Pungo were incorporated into the Princess Anne district and two new districts, Rose Hall and Centerville emerged in the western part of the city.
Virginia Beach is located at 36°50'4" North, 76°5'13" West (36.834498, -76.087179).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1,288.1 km² (497.3 mi²). 643.1 km² (248.3 mi²) of it is land and 645.0 km² (249.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 50.07% water.
Virginia Beach is home to several United States Military bases, including NAS Oceana and NAB Little Creek. NAS Oceana is the largest employer in Virginia Beach, and both bases are considered to be the largest of their respective kinds in the world. Furthermore, adjacent to Virginia Beach is the Norfolk Navy Base, the central hub of the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet. Fort Story , operated by the United States Army, is located at Cape Henry.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 425,257 people, 154,455 households, and 110,898 families residing in the city. The population density is 661.3/km² (1,712.7/mi²). There are 162,277 housing units at an average density of 252.3/km² (653.6/mi²).
The racial makeup of the city is:
- 71.41% White
- 69.46% non-Latino white
- 18.95% African American
- 0.38% Native American
- 4.91% Asian
- 0.10% Pacific Islander
- 1.51% from other races
- 2.75% from two or more races
- 4.18% Hispanic or Latino, of any race.
There are 154,455 households out of which 38.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% are married couples living together, 12.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% are non-families. 20.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 5.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.70 and the average family size is 3.14.
The age distribution is 27.5% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 34.3% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 98.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 95.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $48,705, and the median income for a family is $53,242. Males have a median income of $33,756 versus $25,979 for females. The per capita income for the city is $22,365. 6.5% of the population and 5.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.6% of those under the age of 18 and 4.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Virginia Beach is served by Norfolk International Airport, which is located in Norfolk, Virginia and also serves the rest of the Hampton Roads area. According to the United States Census, Virginia Beach is now part of the Virginia Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. The naming of the area follows the traditional Census Bureau pattern of naming areas after their most populous city; however, the naming does not reflect the actual character of the area. Virginia Beach currently functions more as a giant suburb instead of a central city. Despite recent efforts by the city's leaders to construct a more urban environment, the urban core of the metropolitan area lies primarily in Norfolk.
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