Virginia Club   


Quotes About Norfolk

“It has all the advantages of situation requisite for trade and Navigation.”

1728 - William Byrd, II

“The public prints of this dirty little Borough of Norfolk has for some time past been wholly employed in exciting in the minds of all ranks of people the spirit of sedition and rebellion.”

1774 - Lord Earl Dunmore

“Delenda est Norfolk”

1776 - Thomas Jefferson

“The style of the houses of private Gentlemen is plain and decent but of the fashion of 30 years ago.”

1796 - Benjamin Henry Latrobe

“It is one of the ugliest, most irregular, dirtiest towns that I have ever seen.”

1796 - Duke de La Rochefoucauld Liancourt

“Norfolk as you guess is very expensive.”

1803 - William Wirt, Attorney

“It is the true interest of Virginia to foster the prosperity of Norfolk as among the prime objects of their true policy.”

c 1815 - James Madison

“Hospitality is a distinguishing trait of the people, rich poor.  Their polished manners and agreeable conversation ingratiate the traveller.”

1820 - A. B. Alcott

“The wickedest city in the country.”

1900 - Town Topics of New York

One hundred forty years ago, Norfolk was, at best, a disappointing place. Many leaders speculated about the greatness that would come to this strategically located port city, but wars and pestilence took their toll. The New York Town Topics described Norfolk as the “wickedest city in the United States”, and the New York Voice displayed a map of Norfolk on its front page calling it “Hell’s Half Acre.”

When Lord Louis Mountbatten visited Norfolk as First Lord of the Admiralty and one of NATO's chieftains, a group of Navy brass took him to see the cannonball at St. Paul’s Church at the corner of St. Paul’s Boulevard and City Hall Avenue.

With some relish they pointed out that one of Lord Dunmore's warships fired the ball when the Royal governor was destroying Norfolk in one of the British Navy's less majestic episodes.

"After explaining what had happened, the Americans stood back and waited, perhaps with inward smirks, for the British sea dog's reaction. There was a long pause.

"'Hahnnh,' Mountbatten snorted, gazing cooly at the projectile bulging from the near corner of the wall. 'Damn near missed it, didn't he?'"