12 June 2018

A City of History: Norfolk, Virginia, 2-5 April 2018

When a fortuitous opportunity to visit Norfolk, Virginia presented itself in early April 2018, MoMI seized the initiative.  As home to the world's largest naval base, Norfolk provides the naval history enthusiast with a wealth of things to see and do; however, the city also features a charming and revitalised waterfront, historic homes, and a number of museums.  Enjoy the following photo tour of some of what Norfolk has to offer.      

Norfolk International Airport (ORF)

The baggage hall at Norfolk International Airport.  Doors on the left side exit to the arrivals pick-up zone. 
The bright and spacious main lobby of Norfolk International Airport.  This large open space, featuring restaurants and shops ranged around the perimeter, serves as the central hub of the airport terminal.  Corridors leading off the main lobby take travellers to Concourse A or Concourse B, as required.  American Airlines and American Eagle Airlines operates out of Concourse A.

An American Airlines air sickness bag.

Below: The front and reverse sides of an American Airlines baggage tag.

Hilton Norfolk The Main Hotel

Below: The keycard and keycard envelope for Room 1621, Hilton Norfolk The Main Hotel.

Hilton Norfolk The Main Hotel, located at the corner of Main and Granby Streets in downtown Norfolk.  The 23-storey hotel features 300 guest rooms, including 11 luxury suites, as well as meeting space for up to 2,000 people.  The hotel is home to three restaurants: the seafood restaurant Saltine; a rooftop bar, Grain, which features live music and craft beer; and Varia, a 'modern Italian trattoria and wine studio with a piano bar'.    

The impressive atrium of the Hilton Norfolk The Main.  The reception desk is located under the tall contemporary mural along the back wall.

The corridor on the 16th floor of the hotel.

The door to Room 1621 of the Hilton Norfolk The Main.

Room 1621 of the Hilton Norfolk The Main hotel.  A large picture window overlooks Norfolk harbour and the Elizabeth River.

The view from Room 1621.  Portsmouth, Virginia can be seen across the Elizabeth River, while a United States Coast Guard cutter proceeds through the harbour, likely en route to one of the many docks and maintenance facilities along the river operated by the US Government and defence contractors.

Out and About in Norfolk

The Waterside District, opened in May 2017, features various trendy restaurants and bars.  The development is part of the broader post-war revival of the previously gritty and industrial Norfolk waterfront.  The Waterside District building sits between Waterside Drive and the Elizabeth River, in the heart of downtown Norfolk. 

A view of the interior of the Waterside District building.  The ground floor features an outlet of Guy Fieri's Smokehouse restaurant chain, a sushi and noodle kiosk, a shop selling handmade fudge and ice cream, the Starr Hill Market Bar, VIN Wine Bar, Cogan's Pizza, Carolina Cupcakery, and Norfolk Coffee & Tea. 

The Blue Moon Tap House is one of the restaurants located in the Waterside District building. It features a circular central bar and interior dining area, as well as an exterior patio on Waterside Drive. Given the chilly evenings in early April, the patio was not in use at this time.
A coaster from the Blue Moon Tap House at Norfolk's Waterside District.

An exterior view of the Waterside District building, as seen from the boardwalk that runs along the Elizabeth River.  Patios for a couple of the larger restaurants overlook the river.  

One of the Elizabeth River ferries that crisscrosses the Elizabeth River between Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia.  Ferry service on this route commenced in 1636 with a rowed skiff for pedestrians.  In 1720, a larger ferry, still powered by oarsmen, began carrying horse-drawn wagons and other wheeled vehicles.  By 1794, six oared ferries were operating on the route, and in 1821 horse-powered paddle-wheel vessels replaced the oarsmen.  The first steam-powered Elizabeth River ferry, Gosport, entered service in 1832 and reduced the river crossing time to five minutes.  In 1840, the passenger fare was three cents.  Later, in 1918, the ferry was carrying 40 automobiles and 200 passengers each trip.  With the opening of the Downtown Tunnel to Norfolk in 1952, use of the ferry dropped off and it ceased operations in 1955.  Ferry service was restored between Norfolk and Portsmouth in 1983.  Today, Hampton Roads Transit operates three 150-passenger ferries every 30 minutes or every 15 minutes during summer peak times on weekends.

The steel-hulled, three-masted top sail schooner American Rover, moored next to Town Point Park along the Elizabeth River.  American Rover was built in Panama City, Florida and fitted out in the Willoughby area of Norfolk before entering service in 1986.  Her design was inspired by the 19th century cargo schooners that once plied the waters of the Atlantic Seaboard and Chesapeake Bay.  She measures 135 feet in length, with a 24-foot beam, and a 9-foot draught.  Displacing 105 tons, American Rover carries 5,000 square feet of sail and can carry 129 passengers at a top speed of 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h).

Docked across from American Rover, the Spirit of Norfolk features lounges, dining areas, and a bar in its two enclosed decks and open-air rooftop observation deck.  The vessel completed a $1.2 million refurbishment in 2016 and takes passengers on sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises, and private charter event cruises along the Elizabeth River.

The M80 Stiletto, an 88-foot pentamaran-hulled high-speed craft owned by Naval Sea Systems Command and used to test new technologies for the US Navy, especially those for Navy Special Warfare forces.  Capable of speeds up to 60 knots (111.12 km/h), Stiletto has a draught of only three feet, making it ideal for littoral and riverine operations.  It can travel 500 nautical miles at 40 knots, and possesses a small flight deck for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations, as well as a rear ramp that can launch and recover 11-metre rigid-hulled inflatable boats and autonomous underwater vehicles.  Weighing just 45 tons unloaded, Stiletto can be hoisted aboard cargo vessels.  It is the largest vessel constructed of carbon fibre and advanced composite materials.  When this photo was taken, Stiletto was preparing to sail from Norfolk to Washington, DC to participate in the annual Sea, Air, Space trade show and symposium.

Looking along the Elizabeth River Trail in Norfolk, Virginia, 2 April 2018. A short distance offshore sits the zero mile buoy marking the beginning of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. An information plaque notes that water transportation was the primary means of moving cargo in colonial times and that the idea of a canal connecting the Elizabeth River with the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina originated in 1728 during Colonel William Byrd's surveying expedition of the Virginia-North Carolina border. Construction of the Dismal Swamp Canal commenced in 1793 and was completed in 1805, with further excavations to widen and deepen the canal being completed in 1828. A second canal, the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, was built between 1855 and 1859. Today, both canals form part of the Intracoastal Waterway, providing inland passage for both commercial vessels and pleasure craft.

Below: A pamphlet showing the route of the Elizabeth River Trail, Norfolk, Virginia.

An early spring day at Town Point Park.  Comprising seven acres along the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk, the park hosts various outdoor concerts and festivals, including Norfolk Harborfest, Bayou Boogaloo, and Fourth of July events.  Town Point Park was given a complete redesign in 2008-09, being reopened to the public by July 2009.

Looking at the Armed Forces Memorial, located at the southwest corner of Town Point Park.  The memorial features 20 bronze plates engraved with letters home written by US military personnel, from the American Revolutionary War to the Gulf War, who died after writing their letters.  The plates are scattered across the plaza as if strewn by the wind. 

The Peter G. Decker Jr. Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center, a conference and event venue, also equipped to dock cruise ships.  Opened in April 2007, the Half Moone Center is named after the Half Moone fort that was built on this site in 1673 to protect Norfolk's growing maritime trade from Dutch ships which attacked British merchant vessels in the years after the 1664 British conquest of New Amsterdam (subsequently renamed New York).  The fort's construction pre-dated the founding of Norfolk and the site was at that time called Foure Farthing Point.  Authorised by the Virginia Assembly, the fort was designed in a half-moon shape and armed with demi-cannons and culverins to cover the broad stretch of river at this point.  The long-barrelled culverin was capable of accurately shooting an 18 pound (5 inch) cannonball to a distance of 1,300 yards.  The cost to Lower Norfolk County of building the fort was 35,000 pounds of tobacco.  One of Norfolk's iconic mermaid sculptures adorns a fountain outside the Half Moone Center.

An exterior view of Nauticus, home to a maritime-themed science centre and museum, the US Navy's Hampton Roads Naval Museum, and the battleship USS Wisconsin.  The anchor sitting in front of Nauticus came from the aircraft carrier USS Antietam (CV-36), commissioned into the US Navy on 28 January 1945 and decommissioned on 8 May 1963.  The anchor weighs 30,000 pounds and measures 146 inches long along the shank and 116 inches across the flukes.  It was placed here and dedicated to the people of Norfolk on 16 October 1983. 

The decommissioned Iowa-class battleship USS Wisconsin, as seen from the Elizabeth River Trail boardwalk running past Nauticus.  Now a museum ship, the Wisconsin is included in admission to the Nauticus museum.  (See below for a full photo tour of both Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin.)  

Ship's bell from the USS Norfolk, the US Navy's first Destroyer Leader, and the first major warship built in the United States after the end of the Second World War.  Financed by a war bond campaign by the City of Norfolk, the USS Norfolk was built as a submarine hunter-killer ship by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in Camden, New Jersey, commissioning on 4 March 1953.  The 5,600-ton ship served with the Atlantic Fleet and, after 1968, as the flagship of Commander Middle East Forces.  Decommissioned on 15 January 1970, USS Norfolk was sold for scrapping in August 1974.  The bell was displayed on Norfolk's downtown waterfront esplanade between 1975 and 1987, when it was put in storage.  On 4 March 2003, the bell was installed in its current location in Wisconsin Square in a ceremony attended by 25 of the USS Norfolk's original crewmen.

The Elizabeth River Trail runs through a gate into the Chinese-inspired Oriental Gardens dominated by the Pagoda (also known as the Marine Observation Tower), a gift to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk from the Taiwan Provincial Government.  The gardens feature species of plants native to Asia, granite lanterns, and a Koi pond. The gardens were dedicated in October 2000.

Below: A pamphlet for the Pagoda & Oriental Garden in Norfolk, Virginia.

Proposed by the Taiwan Provincial Governor (and later President of the Republic of China) in 1983 during a goodwill trade mission to Norfolk, the two-storey octagon-shaped Pagoda was built in 1989 on and around pillars that had previously supported a 500,000 gallon molasses storage tank built in 1918.  Materials for the Pagoda were manufactured in Taiwan and shipped to Norfolk where they were assembled by Taiwanese builders.  The Pagoda now houses an Asian-themed restaurant and tea room.  

The Koi pond at the centre of the the Oriental Gardens in downtown Norfolk. 

A bridge traverses the Koi pond, with its lanterns, fountains, and native Asian plants.

Below: A brochure on Norfolk's Cannonball Trail of historic sites.

The John Cary-Weston House, completed around 1870 and located at 358 West Freemason Street in the West Freemason Street Historic District. This house, designed in the High Victorian Italianate Second Empire style fashionable in the post-Civil War period of development and reconstruction, features 17 rooms, 10 fireplaces, 12-foot high ceilings, arched passageways, and walnut woodwork.  The exterior ornamentation includes an ornamental cast iron porch and crestings, projecting bay windows, carved brackets and friezes, segmental arches above windows, carved brickwork, and a mansard roof.  It was built by John Cary-Weston, a Confederate Army Colonel and member of the Great Bridge Canal and Lumber Company.       

The Camp-Hubbard House, located at 308 West Freemason Street.  Built in 1852 in the Greek Revival architectural style, the Camp-Hubbard House features a one-story portico flanked by paired Ionic columns, and is surrounded by an intricate cast iron fence.  The house was owned by William S. Camp, who helped organise the Merchants and Mechanics Savings Bank in 1851.  The bank was the only local bank to survive the Civil War.

More heritage homes in the West Freemason Street Historic District.  The West Freemason Street Historic District is Norfolk's only neighbourhood showing the evolution of the city's architectural styles over three centuries: houses in the Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Romanesque Revival, Beaux Arts Classicism, Queen Anne, and Georgian Revival styles are all represented in the district.  West Freemason Street retains the cobblestone streets, granite curbs, brick sidewalks, and cast iron fences that were characteristic of early Norfolk.  Freemason Street is also notable as the first street in the city to be equipped with gas lamps, in 1850.  Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, this area was one of Norfolk's most fashionable residential neighbourhoods, and the West Freemason Street Historic District was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.      

An overhead view of the U.S. Customs House, located at 101 East Main Street, Norfolk.  The building is across the street from the Hilton Norfolk The Main hotel.  

Built between 1852 and 1859 in the Classical Revival style, the U.S. Custom House was designed by Ammi B. Young, the first supervising architect for the United States Treasury Department.  This granite Custom House replaced an earlier (and dilapidated) 1819 custom house located several blocks away.  All Federal offices were located in the Custom House, with courtrooms on the upper floor and the post office in the basement; when these agencies outgrew the available space, a new Federal courthouse and post office was constructed in 1900.  Of note, between 1862 and 1865 the Custom House was used by Federal troops as a dungeon during the Civil War.

The TowneBank Building, located at 109 East Main Street. Built in 1899, this eight-storey brick and terra cotta Roman Classical structure was Norfolk’s tallest building when completed.  Interior features include marble panelling, ornate columns, mosaic floors, and decorative woodwork and chandeliers.  A rooftop 'Time Ball' lowered everyday at noon was used by ships anchored in the harbour to set their clocks.

Looking east along Main Street.  This thoroughfare was laid out in 1680 by Lower Norfolk County surveyor John Ferebee, who plotted the road's route along a ridge of high ground extending from Foure Farthing Point (Town Point Park) to Dun-in-the-Mire (Harbor Park).  Originally named Front Street, Main Street is the traditional heart of Norfolk's business district and the centre of community activities.  Although Main Street fell into a period of decline before the Second World War, redevelopment between the 1960s and 1990s restored it to its pre-eminent place in the city.

The Confederate Monument, located at Main Street and Commercial Place. The monument was erected by the Pickett-Buchanan Camp of Confederate Veterans in 1898.  The bronze statue at the top of the column, The Confederate Soldier, was completed in 1906 by notable sculptor and Norfolk native William Couper.  It was dedicated in 1907 to 'our Confederate dead' during the Jamestown Exposition.

A long water feature with fountains spans the length of Commercial Park, between Main Street to the south and Plume Street to the north.  The dome of the MacArthur Memorial museum can be seen behind the trees in the centre of the photo.  In the original 1680 survey of the area to lay out what would become the town of Norfolk, one of the few streets identified was one leading to the waterside.  The original location of this street was just to the west of the site of Commercial Park, and it led from Front (now Main) Street to the Elizabeth River.  This street soon became Norfolk's commercial hub, and the area was renamed Market Square upon the completion of a market here in the early 1700s.  The name changed to Commercial Place around 1900.    

One of the light rail trains known as The Tide operated by Hampton Roads Transit.  The Tide runs roughly east-west across 7.4 miles of Norfolk, with 11 stations.  Here, a train runs along Plume Street. 

The Monticello Avenue frontage of the MacArthur Center shopping mall, occupying 1.1 million square feet of downtown Norfolk.  The mall was opened in March 1999 and features 140 stores, comprising 400,000 square feet of retail space and 100,000 square feet of food and entertainment space.  Anchor tenants include Dillard's and Nordstrom, as well as the Regal MacArthur 18 movie theatre.   

The interior of the MacArthur Center mall, showing the three levels of shopping, dining, and entertainment space.

The Wells Theater, on Tazewell Street, was built in 1912 in the Beaux Art style and served as the flagship of Wells Amusement Enterprises, a chain of 40 vaudeville theaters throughout the South.  It featured 1,650 seats, three boxes, and three balconies.  The top balcony was reserved 'For Negro Audiences Only' and had its own separate entrance and box office.  In 1916, the owners added a movie screen and projector for showing films, though theatrical performances continued as the theatre's principal bookings.  By the start of the Second World War, the Wells Theater began hosting burlesque shows which attracted thousands of sailors stationed at the nearby Norfolk naval base.  In the 1940s and 1950s, the Wells Theater was known for its double and triple feature film showings; however, as the City of Norfolk entered a period of general decline in the 1960s, the theatre was converted into an X-rated movie house, and the backstage area became the Jamaican Room, an infamous gin mill and brothel.  In 1980, the Wells Theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  Today, the Wells Theater is home to the Virginia Stage Company, a respected regional theatre company.

The Slover Library, at the intersection of Atlantic Street and Plume Street. The historic Seaboard Building, seen here, comprises one component of the Slover Library.  It is connected to the historic Selden Arcade (now called the Selden Market) by a modern, six-storey glass addition and a three-storey glass atrium and tower.  The Slover Library opened in January 2015 and is named after former Norfolk Mayor Colonel Samuel Slover (1873-1959).

The Slover Library's modern glass tower and atrium.  The library was designed to blend traditional library functions with the best of contemporary library resources and services, with 138,000 square feet of space.

The interior of the Slover Library's glass-roofed atrium, showing the Seaboard Building on the left.  The library cost $65 million to build, of which $40 million was donated by the late Frank Batten Sr., former CEO and chairman of Landmark Communications and nephew of Colonel Samuel Slover.  The City of Norfolk contributed an additional $22.6 million towards construction, with the remainder being collected from private contributions through the Slover Library Foundation. 

The Monticello Arcade, built in 1908 and located at 208 East Plume Street and 211 East City Hall Avenue.  This covered shopping arcade was designed in the Beaux Arts Classical style, and is one of only two such shopping arcades remaining in Virginia.  The three-storey Monticello Arcade features terra cotta decorative elements and its skylight was one of the largest in the United States when built.  When opened, the arcade sold various products from around the world in 'apartment stores'; however, today the arcade houses trendy boutiques, small businesses, and offices.

The Virginia Building, at the intersection of Granby and Plume Streets.  The six-storey building was built in the early 1900s and now houses luxury condominiums, with a rooftop lounge featuring two outdoor patios and an indoor resident lounge.

The Lorraine Building, at the corner of Granby and Tazewell Streets.  Built as a European-style boutique hotel in 1906 as part of the celebrations for the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Jamestown Colony, The Lorraine featured grand entryways, luxurious finishes, and oversized rooms.  Today, after extensive restoration, The Lorraine is home to upscale apartments.

The Virginia Club, formerly the Southern Bank, built in 1908 in the Classical Revival style and featuring an eclectic mix of Greek and Roman Temple architectural elements. The Southern Bank occupied the building from 1908 to 1977 and, in 1997, it became home to the exclusive Virginia Club, founded in Norfolk in 1873. A plaque on the Main Street façade of the building identifies this spot as the western limit of the 50 acres constituting the original Town of Norfolk, purchased in 1682 as a port for Lower Norfolk County.

The Southern Bank building today also houses the Norfolk Tap Room, with 24 beers on tap and more than 100 bottled varieties. The menu of the casual dining restaurant also features hand cut fries, She Crab soup, oysters, steamed clams, and hand-patted, all-natural burgers, such as the 50/50 burger (half ground beef, half ground bacon) and the Crab Norfolk burger.

A plaque on the wall of St. Paul's Episcopal Church marks the northern limit of the 50 acres constituting the original Town of Norfolk in 1682.  As noted, the land was divided into streets and sold in half-acre lots for homes and businesses, at a price of 100 pounds of tobacco per half-acre.

One of the entrances to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at 201 St. Paul's Boulevard. This site was occupied by a 'chapel of ease' built in 1641, and was designated for a church and burying ground in the 1680 survey of Norfolk.  A parish church built here in 1699-1700 was eventually replaced by the present church, built in 1739.  Until 1773, St. Paul's was the only house of worship in Norfolk, and its cemetery the town's only public burying ground until the 1820s.  St. Paul's has been the site of several notable historical events, including organisation of opposition to the Stamp Act in 1775, a commemoration of the death of George Washington in 1800, and the funeral for General Douglas MacArthur in 1964.  

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was the only building in Norfolk Borough to survive the bombardment and fires of January 1776, though only the walls were left standing.  In retaliation for Norfolk's refusal to provision his warships, British Royal Governor Lord Dunmore ordered the naval bombardment of Norfolk on New Year's Day 1776.  Seven British ships anchored in the Elizabeth River, including HMS Liverpool, HMS Otter, and HMS Kingfisher, opened fire on the town, and landing parties were sent ashore to burn buildings from which snipers were shooting at the ships.  Nineteen buildings were destroyed by naval gunfire; however, further damage was inflicted by Virginia and Carolina militiamen who, over 2-3 January plundered the town and burned more buildings in a bid to prevent British troops from occupying Norfolk.  By the time American officers were able to regain control over their militiamen, 863 buildings, representing two-thirds of Norfolk, had been destroyed.  St. Paul's Episcopal Church bears a physical reminder of the 1776 bombardment: a British cannonball from one of Lord Dunmore's ships is still embedded in the church's south wall.  It took a decade before the church was restored and returned to service. 

A tombstone for one of Norfolk's 19th century citizens buried in the graveyard at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.  This stone belongs to Hugh Finley, born in County Down, Ireland, who was a Norfolk merchant before his death at age 56 on 22 June 1816.    

The parish hall on the grounds of St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

The Willoughby-Baylor House, built in 1794 by Captain William Willoughby.  The site of the house was part of the original 200-acre Crown grant given to Colonel Thomas Willoughby in 1636.  Norfolk's Royal Exchange Lodge of Masons built the Mason's Hall on the site in 1764, but the hall was destroyed in the 1776 bombardment of Norfolk.  William Willoughby purchased the land from the Masons in 1794 and constructed the Federal style townhouse that exists today.  The Willoughby family and its descendants, the Sharpe and Baylor families, occupied the house until 1890.  Allowed to decay, the house was slated for demolition but was saved and restored by the Norfolk Historic Foundation in 1964.  The Foundation eventually donated Willoughby-Baylor House to the City of Norfolk as a historic house museum.  Today, the house is occupied by the Norfolk History Museum and features exhibits covering Norfolk’s architectural, commercial, maritime, and military history through objects from the Chrysler Museum collection and those of other institutions and private citizens.

Freemason Street Baptist Church, located across from Willoughby-Baylor House on Freemason Street. The church was designed in the Perpendicular Gothic style by architect Thomas Ustick Walter and dedicated in 1850. The exterior walls are clad in stuccoed brick, and the front façade features a projecting belfry and a two-stage tower topped by an octagonal spire. Freemason Street Baptist Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

The Norfolk Police and Fire Museum, located across the street from Freemason Street Baptist Church.  The museum traces the histories of the Norfolk Police Department and Norfolk Fire-Rescue from their founding in 1797 and 1871, respectively.  The Norfolk Police Museum was established in 1919 and the Norfolk Fire-Rescue Museum was established in 2004; today, both museums exist under one roof and are free of charge for visitors.  Displays in the museum include early photographs, uniforms, badges, patches, firearms, handcuffs and other equipment used by the Norfolk Police Department, as well as uniforms, badges, helmets, fire suppression and medical equipment used by Norfolk Fire-Rescue.

The Moses Myers House.  Jewish shipping merchant Moses Myers of New York purchased this site in 1791 and built this Federal style townhouse the next year.  The house was one of the first brick buildings to be constructed in Norfolk following the destruction of the 1776 British bombardment.  The dining room and kitchen were added to the house around 1802.  Moses Myers managed his shipping business based in Market Square, and also served as the superintendent of the Norfolk branch of the Bank of Richmond.  In addition, he served in diplomatic positions in Denmark in 1812 and in Holland in 1819.  In 1828, Myers was appointed as Collector of Customs for Norfolk by President John Quincy Adams.  The Myers family continued to own and occupy the house until 1931, and a number of notable figures paid visits, including Stephen Decatur, the Marquis de Lafayette, James Monroe, and Presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.  Today, the historic house provides a look at the prosperous 18th century life of Moses Myers and his family, with 70% of the furnishings being original to the first generation of Myers.
The Walter E. Hoffman United States Courthouse, formerly known as the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, covers a block of land bounded by Brambleton Avenue, Granby Street, Monticello Avenue, and Bute Street.  It serves as the courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.  The four-storey Art Deco style courthouse was built between 1932 and 1934 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.  Clad in limestone, with a contrasting polished black granite base and elaborate interior craftsmanship, the building reflected the growing prosperity of Norfolk in the first two decades of the 20th century, as well as the trend toward Art Moderne styling in Federal buildings of the 1930s and 1940s.  Monumental in scale, such Federal edifices were meant to serve as a tribute to democratic ideals and convey the strength and stability of government.

The offices of the Virginian-Pilot, a daily newspaper in Norfolk, located on Brambleton Avenue.  The Virginian-Pilot was founded in 1865 at the close of the Civil War, and this building was completed in 1937 to house what is today Virginia's largest daily.  The paper serves the five cities of South Hampton Roads, as well as several smaller towns across southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina.

Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise

The Victory Rover tour boat, moored at Town Point Park prior to departing on its regular 11:00am - 1:00pm harbour cruise, 3 April 2018. The Victory Rover measures 95 feet long by 21 feet wide, and is powered by three triple screw 1271 Detroit Diesel engines producing 1,300 horsepower. The vessel is certified to carry 149 passengers. The highlight of the harbour tours provided by Victory Rover is the cruise past Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest naval station. Naval Station Norfolk occupies four miles of the Hampton Roads waterfront, and features the largest concentration of US Navy forces, with over 70 ships homeported there. The station supports US Navy forces assigned to United States Fleet Forces Command, as well as those operating in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian Oceans. US naval air forces conduct over 100,000 flights in and out of Naval Air Station Chambers Field, adjacent to Naval Station Norfolk, equating to one flight every six minutes.
The ticket for the Victory Rover Naval Base Cruise, 3 April 2018.

The Norfolk waterfront, as seen from the deck of Victory Rover as it cruised up the Elizabeth River before heading downriver toward the Norfolk Naval Base.

A view of one of the ship repair facilities along the Elizabeth River in Norfolk.  Here, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers USS Truxtun (DDG-103) and USS Stout (DDG-55) undergo maintenance and upgrade work, with white plastic covering over delicate sensors on the mast of the TruxtunTruxton commissioned into the US Navy on 25 April 2009 and Stout commissioned on 13 August 1994.  Lying next to the two ships is YRBM-36, a YRBM-31 class Repair, Berthing and Messing Barge used by shipyard workers.  

Passengers on the Victory Rover look at the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD-46) on the left in drydock, and the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5) on the right.  The 16,568 ton Tortuga commissioned on 17 November 1990 and the 41,000 ton Wasp commissioned on 20 September 1997.  

Shipyard cranes tower over the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19).  The 24,433 ton ship is 684 feet long and can carry up to 800 fully-equipped Marines, in addition to its crew of 28 officers and 83 sailors.  The onboard hangar and flight deck allows the ship to simultaneously operate four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or two MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.  USS Mesa Verde commissioned into the US Navy on 15 December 2007.

Victory Rover passes astern of the retired Iowa-class battleship USS Wisconsin, now a museum ship moored next to the Nauticus science and maritime museum.

More US Navy ships moored at Elizabeth River shipyards.  Seen here are the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), the Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41), and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72).  Vella Gulf commissioned on 18 September 1993, Whidbey Island commissioned on 9 February 1985, and Mahan commissioned on 14 February 1998.  Floating boom fencing provides a defence against small boat attack and other unwanted approaches to the ships docked along the Elizabeth River.

A closer view of the USS Vella Gulf and, behind her, the USS Mahan.  Interestingly, both ships carry the hull number 72 on their bows.  As a cruiser, Vella Gulf is 9,800 tons, 567 feet long, and is armed with the Mark 41 vertical launch missile system, Harpoon missiles, two 5-inch guns, two triple torpedo mounts, and a Phalanx close-in weapon system.  Mahan is 8,939 tons, 505 feet long, and is armed with the Mark 41 vertical launch missile system, one 5-inch gun, Harpoon missiles, and a Phalanx close-in weapon system.  The repair, berthing and messing barge YRBM-42 is moored alongside Vella Gulf

A pair of enormous mobile cranes tower over a goods warehouse at one of the commercial piers along the Elizabeth River.  The cranes' bogies are mounted on railway track and connected to a curved track mounted on the roof of the warehouse.  When ships dock at the pier, the cranes can move around to the sides of the pier to hoist off containers from the decks of the ships.

The Norfolk Southern Railroad's Lambert's Point Docks, used for loading and unloading bulk cargo.  Seen here are the coal piers, which largely export metallurgical coal mined in Central Appalachia and used in steel manufacturing.  Lambert’s Point Docks has been in operation for more than 65 years and specialises in wood products, machinery, and project cargo. The terminal moves more than a half-million tons of general cargo annually, and is connected to the Norfolk Southern rail network.

The bulk carriers An Ping (30,962 gross tons) and Zhengrong (41,951 gross tons) docked at the Norfolk Southern coal piers to take on loads of metallurgical coal.    

A green buoy marks the shipping channel in the Elizabeth River. The blue cranes of the Virginia Port Authority's Norfolk International Terminals which, at 648 acres, is the largest of the Authority's four cargo handling facilities. Eleven Suez-class cranes service the terminal, and a 5,730 foot long wharf can berth five ships carrying containerised, breakbulk, and roll-on/roll-off cargoes.  Built on the site of a former US Army base acquired by the City of Norfolk in 1965, the facility was purchased by the Virginia Port Authority on 1 July 1972, with the Authority continuing to upgrade and improve Norfolk International Terminals since then.

The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy but crewed by civilians from the Military Sealift Command. When deployed on operations, the ship carries uniformed US Navy hospital staff and naval support staff from the Navy's Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Chaplain Corps, as well as naval enlisted personnel from various administrative and technical support trades. To comply with the Geneva Conventions, Comfort and its crew do not carry any offensive weapons, and any attack on the ship would thus be considered a war crime. USNS Comfort was originally constructed by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company as the San Clemente-class oil tanker SS Rose City in 1976. Delivered to the US Navy on 1 December 1987, Comfort now provides rapid, flexible, and mobile medical and surgical services to US military personnel ashore or afloat, as well as hospital services for disaster and humanitarian relief operations. After more than 25 years based in Baltimore, in March 2013 USNS Comfort moved to its new homeport of Norfolk to be closer to medical crews and the source of its medical supplies, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and Ticonderoga-class cruisers docked at Naval Station Norfolk.  Of note, the ship on the far left, USS Cole (DDG-67), was badly damaged on 12 October 2000 when al-Qaeda terrorists detonated an explosives-packed motor boat on the Cole's port side while the destroyer was docked in Aden, Yemen.  The attack killed 17 sailors and injured another 39 of the crew.  Also seen here, on the far right of the photo is the cruiser Gettysburg (CG-64), commissioned into the US Navy on 22 June 1991.

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Arlington (LPD-24), commissioned on 8 February 2013.

Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers at Naval Station Norfolk: on the left, the USS Jason Dunham (DDG-109), commissioned on 13 November 2010; on the right, the USS Bulkeley (DDG-84), commissioned on 8 December 2001. 

The lead ship of the Arleigh Burke-class of guided missile destroyers, the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51).  The ship was built by Bath Iron Works in Maine and commissioned into the US Navy on 4 July 1991 in a ceremony along the Norfolk waterfront attended by the then-retired Admiral Arleigh A. Burke (1901-1996).

The USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO-188), a Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler that entered service with Military Sealift Command in April 1987.  She is a non-commissioned ship of the US Navy, primarily crewed by civilians.  

A Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ship (T-AKE), one of 14 such Combat Logistics Force underway replenishment vessels operated by the US Military Sealift Command.  All of the ships of the Lewis and Clark-class are named after famous American explorers and pioneers.  The 45,149 ton ships are 689 feet long, carry a crew of 124 civilian sailors and 11 US Navy personnel, and have a capacity for 1.388 million cubic feet of dry cargo, as well as 23,450 barrels of fuel cargo.   

The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3).  The Kearsarge was built by Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in Pascagoula, Mississippi and commissioned into the US Navy on 16 October 1993.  It carries a crew of 104 officers and 1,004 sailors, and can embark 1,893 Marines.  A 13,600 square foot well deck can be flooded and opened to the sea via a large gate at the stern, permitting landing craft to embark personnel and stores inside the ship and then transit to shore.  The Wasp-class ships carry 22 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, as well as six AV-8B Harrier jets, and six Sikorsky Seahawk helicopters.  Defensive armament consists of RIM-7 Sea Sparrow point-defence missiles, RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles, 25mm chain guns, and a Phalanx close-in weapon system.     

Naval Station Norfolk is most famous as the homeport for four of the US Navy's Carrier Strike Groups, each centred on an aircraft carrier.  Here is seen the Navy's newest carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), commissioned 22 July 2017 by President Trump.  The Gerald R. Ford-class of carriers displace 100,000 tons, measure 1,106 feet long, 256 feet wide at the flight deck, and have a draught of 39 feet.  With 25 decks, the Gerald R. Ford-class carriers stand 250 feet high, and the ships are powered by two Bechtel A1B nuclear reactors which provide substantially more power than the older generation reactors used aboard the Navy's existing Nimitz-class carriers.  The US Navy plans to construct a total of 10 Gerald R. Ford-class carriers, and expects the ships to remain part of the fleet for 90 years (until 2105); as such, significant margins have been included in electrical generation capacity to permit technological upgrades over the ships' lifetime.  A novel feature of the Gerald R. Ford-class ships is the electromagnetic aircraft launch system used to catapult aircraft off the flight deck.  The incorporation of new technologies and other design features in the class have improved efficiency and reduced operating costs and crew complement; the Gerald R. Ford-class ships will carry a crew of 2,600, about 600 fewer than today's Nimitz-class carriers.  The USS Gerald R. Ford is expected to deploy on its first operational mission sometime in 2020.  As of 2013, the cost to construct the USS Gerald R. Ford was estimated to be US$12.8 billion, plus an additional US$4.7 billion in research and development costs.     

Norfolk Naval Station's four carriers moored at the deep water navy piers at the far northern end of the base.  From left to right: USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77), commissioned on 10 January 2009; USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), commissioned on 25 July 1998; USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), commissioned on 11 November 1989; and USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).

A closer look at the Nimitz-class carriers USS George H.W. Bush and USS Harry S. Truman.  As the last of the Nimitz-class ships, the USS George H.W. Bush was designed as a 'transition ship' to the new Gerald R. Ford-class carriers and, as such, incorporated new technologies, such as improved propeller and bulbous bow designs, a reduced radar cross-section, and electronic and environmental upgrades.     

Looking at the lines of docked US Navy warships at Naval Station Norfolk from the bow of the Victory Rover tour boat as it returns to Norfolk's Town Point Park.

Tugs push a barge loaded with containers, with the cranes of one of the Virginia Port Authority's cargo facilities in the background.

The US Navy's Lambert's Point Deperming Station in the Elizabeth River. Built in the mid-1940s, the station provides deperming services to the US Navy Atlantic Fleet. Its two 1,140 foot long parallel piers can accommodate even the largest naval ships.  Deperming treatment of a ship serves to reduce the magnetic signature of the hull to lower the risk of the ship detonating magnetic naval mines. The 'closed-wrap magnetic treatment' involves encircling the ship's hull and superstructure with heavy-gauge copper cables and then pulsing high electrical currents (up to 4,000 amperes) through the cables. This has the effect of "resetting" the ship's magnetic signature to the ambient level after flashing its hull with electricity.  Deperming treatment is permanent and it is only administered to a ship once unless major repairs or structural modifications are made to the ship.

A line of moored US Navy vessels in Portsmouth, Virginia, across the Elizabeth River from Norfolk. The vessel in the foreground is the USS Carter Hall, a Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship commissioned on 30 September 1995. Behind it are moored three roll-on/roll-off cargo ships of the National Defense Reserve Fleet (NDRF), managed by the US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration.  The NDRF comprises mothballed vessels that can be re-activated within 20 to 120 days to provide shipping for the US Government during national emergencies.        

Another view of the roll-on/roll-off cargo ships MV Cape Race (T-AKR-9960), purchased by the US Navy in 1993; MV Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679), purchased in 1994; and MV Cape Rise (T-AKR-9678), purchased in 1993.  Of note, the Cape Ray played a central role in the destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapons stocks in 2014.  The ship, deployed to the Mediterranean with a US Army team of civilians and a Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, embarked 600 tons of the most dangerous chemical weapons.  Destruction operations were then completed offshore over the course of 42 days between June and August 2014. 

Seen here cruising up the Elizabeth River is the tug Sarah Dann, operated by Dann Ocean Towing of Tampa, Florida. The tug was built in 1983 by Main Iron Works of Houma, Louisiana and is powered by two MTU 12V4000 M53 3,700 horsepower diesel engines.

The Victory Rover returns to Town Point Park to disembark sightseers and prepare for the afternoon harbour cruise that departs at 2:00pm daily.

Nauticus Maritime Museum and USS Wisconsin

The exterior of Nauticus, a maritime-themed museum and science centre in downtown Norfolk.  Incorporated under the National Maritime Center Authority in February 1988, construction of the building began on the former site of Norfolk's Banana Pier in February 1992.  Nauticus opened to the public in June 1994. 

Below: The guide provided to admission-paying visitor to Nauticus.

An overhead view of the ticket counter at Nauticus.  Admission includes access to both the Nauticus science centre and museum, and the USS Wisconsin moored outside.  A  large maritime-themed gift shop is located to the left of the ticket counter.

A moving walkway takes Nauticus ticketholders up to the third floor galleries and exhibits.  Along the ride up, passengers are entertained by a short video covering the history and economic importance of the Chesapeake Bay area.

A large stylised map of Hampton Roads greets Nauticus visitors at the top of the moving walkway to demonstrate both the historical and economic importance of the region.  The map notes that 'Roads' is a nautical term that refers to a water channel, and that 'Hampton' honours Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, who was a major supporter of the colonisation of Virginia and one of the founders of The Virginia Company of London.  

A binnacle from the USS Preble (DLG-15/DDG-46), a Coontz-class variant of the Farragut-class destroyer design.  The guided missile destroyer Preble was constructed at Bath Iron Works in Maine and commissioned into the US Navy on 9 May 1960 at the Boston Naval Shipyard.  Using equipment salvaged from the ship, Preble's bridge has been recreated at Nauticus. 

The USS Preble's wheel, engine room telegraphs, and navigational equipment on display at Nauticus.  The Preble served tours of duty in Pacific waters during the Vietnam War, with NATO maritime forces in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and, later, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1990-91.  The 5,800 ton ship was decommissioned on 15 November 1991 and completely dismantled by scrappers by 10 February 2003.  

A view of Guns, Sweat and Gears: Anatomy of a Battleship, one of the permanent exhibits at Nauticus.  This exhibit showcases equipment and mementos from the battleship USS Wisconsin, including optical range finders, 16-inch shell storage canisters and sleds, equipment from the ship's galley, and photos of the crew.  

The Mk 6 Stable Element, part of the Mk 37 gunfire control system for the 5"/38 mountings on the USS Wisconsin.  The full fire control system included gun directors (four turret-like emplacements with radar antennas and optical sights, fore and aft, port and starboard), and electrical fire control equipment in the Secondary Plotting Rooms below the waterline and inside the armour belt.  They contained four complete sets of the fire control equipment to aim and shoot at four targets.  Each set included a Mk 1A computer, a Mk 6 Stable Element, FC radar controls and displays, parallax correctors, a switchboard, and people to operate it all.  The Mk 6 Stable Element determines the ship's pitch and roll and feeds that information into the Mk 1A computer.  The computer, with other inputs (target distance, Wisconsin's course and speed, wind, shell type, etc), generates corrections to the aim of the selected gun mount.  The Mk 6 contains an electrically powered gyroscope hung on free-swinging gimbals.  Once 'spun up' to full speed, the gyroscope maintains a constant reference to the centre of the Earth and remains level, regardless of the position or attitude of the ship.  The slight pressures put on the gyroscope by the ship's motions would be converted to electrical signals and passed to the Mk 1A fire control computer.  The Mk 6 also includes the firing triggers (called keys) for the guns, allowing selection of single mounts, multiple mounts, local (gun director or mount) control, or remote firing commands to be given from the Plot. 

An optical range finder from the USS Wisconsin, used to measure distance from the ship.  An enlarged photo mural in the background depicts the entire crew of the Wisconsin, numbering over 1,900 officers and ratings. 

Intricate, carved wooden ornamentation from a late-19th century United States Navy battleship greets visitors at the entrance to the gallery entitled, 1907: The Jamestown Exposition & Launching of the Steel Navy.  This gallery, produced in conjunction with the Hampton Roads Naval Museum also located within the Nauticus building, showcases the period between the US Navy's recovery from post-civil war decline in 1880 and 1907, when President Theodore Roosevelt dispatched the Great White Fleet on its epic round-the-world voyage to demonstrate American naval strength.

The ship's bell from the USS Kearsarge (BB-5), the first of a two-ship class of 11,540 ton battleships built at Newport News, Virginia and commissioned in 1900.  The Kearsarge served as a North Atlantic Squadron flagship for much of its first eight years in commission, but in 1907 joined the Great White Fleet comprising most of the US Navy's battleships for its circumnavigation of the world.

The uniform of Commodore William Talbot Truxtun, USN, commander of the Norfolk Navy Yard in 1885-86.  

An exhibit on the destruction of the armoured cruiser USS Maine in Havana harbour on 15 February 1898 and the subsequent Spanish-American War.

An engraving entitled, The Destruction of Admiral Cervera's Fleet Outside Santiago Harbor on July 3, 1898. With the Spanish Squadron trapped in the harbour of Santiago, Cuba, Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete made a dash for freedom, attempting to break through the American blockade with his four cruisers and two destroyers; however, the US Navy force, which included the battleships USS Brooklyn and Oregon, destroyed or forced aground all of the Spanish ships.

A display of souvenirs produced for the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, held to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in the Virginia Colony.  The Exposition was held between 26 April and 1 December 1907.  The souvenirs displayed here include handkerchiefs, candle holders, tumblers, watch fobs, and Staffordshire plates. 

A scale model of the Pennsylvania-class armoured cruiser USS Maryland, commissioned into the US Navy on 18 April 1905.  The ship was 503.75 feet long, 69.33 feet wide, and displaced 13,749 tons.  Built by Newport News Shipyard, the Maryland's 16 boilers, triple expansion engines, and twin screws propelled the ship at a top speed of 22 knots (40.74 km/h).  The Maryland's armament included four 8-inch guns, 14 6-inch guns, 18 3-inch guns, and two 18-inch torpedo tubes.  The ship's complement consisted of 80 officers and 745 ratings, as well as 64 US Marines.  The USS Maryland was decommissioned on 14 February 1922 and sold for scrap in February 1930.     

A gallery devoted to President Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet and its round-the-world voyage between 16 December 1907 and 22 February 1909.  The fleet consisted of 16 US Navy battleships and their escort and support vessels, which departed Hampton Roads on a journey covering nearly 45,000 miles, with stops in Brazil, Peru, San Francisco, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Malta, Italy, France, Morocco, and Gibraltar before returning to Hampton Roads.  

A scale model of the battleship USS Virginia (BB-13), one of the ships comprising the Great White Fleet.  Virginia was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company and commissioned into the US Navy on 7 May 1906.  During the First World War, USS Virginia served as a gunnery training ship, but was also involved in returning thousands of US soldiers to America following the end of the war.  In 1923, Virginia was sunk as a target ship during Army Air Service experiments involving aerial bombing of warships, which served to demonstrate the need for naval aviation.  The model was constructed by employees of the Washington Navy Yard in 1901. 

Mementos and souvenirs from the Great White Fleet's voyage.  Seen here is the bell from the destroyer USS Hopkins, which escorted the Atlantic Fleet portion of the Great White Fleet on the first part of its voyage; an Oriental tea set, purchased as a souvenir by a sailor aboard one of the Great White Fleet ships and brought home to the US; commemorative medals issued to mark the Great White Fleet's arrival in Japan and Australia; and souvenir official programs.

An image overlaying the range of the USS Wisconsin's 5-inch and 16-inch guns on a map of the Hampton Roads region to demonstrate the impressive range of these weapons.

A graphic demonstration of the weight of a 16-inch naval projectile of the type fired from the USS Wisconsin's main guns.  Each shell weighed as much as a Volkswagen Beetle automobile.

Before proceeding outdoors to the USS Wisconsin, Nauticus visitors are treated to a film, USS Wisconsin: The Last Battleship, which showcases the 50-year history of the ship, including interviews with former Wisconsin sailors interspersed with archival footage from the Second World War to Operation Desert Storm.

The imposing bow and sleek hull of the Iowa-class battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-64).  The barrels of the ship's forward 16-inch gun turrets point skyward.  USS Wisconsin measures 887' 3" long and 108' 2" wide, with a displacement in 1988 of 57,500 tons fully loaded.  Its eight Babcock and Wilcox boilers generated steam at 600 pounds per square inch, and the ship's four geared Westinghouse turbines produced 212,000 shaft horsepower, propelling Wisconsin at speeds in excess of 33 knots (61 km/h).   

The starboard superstructure of the USS Wisconsin, seen while crossing the gangway from Nauticus to the battleship.  A belt of heavy steel armour (the Citadel) covering one-third of the ship protected all vital areas, including ammunition magazines, machinery, control and plotting rooms, and crew quarters. 

Looking aft from the bow of USS Wisconsin.  The ship's two forward turrets, each mounting three 16" guns can be seen.

A closer view of Wisconsin's 16"/50 calibre Mark 7 guns mounted in three-gun turrets, two forward and one aft.  Each gun barrel is 66.6 feet long from breechface to muzzle, and each gun weighs 267,900 pounds including the breech.  The 16" naval gun could fire a shell weighing between 1,900 and 2,700 pounds at a maximum speed of 2,690 feet per second over a range of up to 24 miles (38.6 km).  Each gun could fire two rounds per minute.  Each turret required 79 men to operate and each was outfitted with an optical rangefinder, a ballistic analog computer, and a switchboard to permit local control if the primary and auxiliary fire control centres were put out of action in battle.  

The interior of USS Wisconsin's Turret I, showing some of the fire control equipment inside, as well as the partitioned nature of each of the three guns sited in each turret.  One-ton shells and 110 pound silk bags of gun powder, stored on separate decks well down in the ship were brought up to the guns on hoists and loaded into the breeches of the guns before firing.

As part of President Reagan's 600-ship navy plan of the mid-1980s, USS Wisconsin was modernised in 1987-88 and reactivated.  Part of the modernisation was the replacement of obsolete weapons systems with modern armament, such as the RGM-84 Harpoon all-weather, over-the-horizon anti-ship missile, seen here.    

The After Fire Tower, housing part of the ship's fire control system and with a Mark 38 gun crew director for the Number III 16" gun turret.  The large grey box in the foreground of the photo is a launcher for the BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles which were fitted aboard Wisconsin during her 1987-88 modernisation.  USS Wisconsin was equipped with a complement of 32 Tomahawks, each launcher holding four missiles.  

Looking aft out over Turret III and the stern of USS Wisconsin.  The fantail area of the stern was used to launch and recover helicopters employed to spot targets for the 16" guns; these helicopters were later replaced by RQ-2 Pioneer drones during the 1987-88 modernisation.  The fantail was also used for social activities, such as speeches, concerts, boxing matches, crew picnics, and the famous 'Crossing the Line' ceremonies held when the ship crossed the equator.  Ed Sullivan broadcast an episode of Toast of the Town live from the fantail of USS Wisconsin in 1957.  

The wardroom, the main dining and relaxation area for USS Wisconsin's officers.  Although designed for 117 officers, during the Second World War the ship actually carried 170 officers.  In contrast, following the 1987-88 refit and reactivation of the ship, the officer complement consisted of only 65.  The wardroom could also be used as a makeshift surgical theatre in an emergency, being equipped with appropriate light fixtures over the tables and with required sterilisation equipment located nearby.  The photo shows microwaves, coffee pots, ice cream machines, and other food service equipment located against the rear bulkhead of the wardroom.   

The stateroom of USS Wisconsin's Executive Officer, the second in command of the ship, as it would have appeared in the early 1990s.  The term 'stateroom' is used by the US Navy to denote accommodations for any officer below flag rank who is not in command of a ship.  The staterooms also served as offices and were therefore outfitted with work-related equipment, such as desks and safes.  Most officers aboard Wisconsin enjoyed private or semi-private staterooms located forward of the wardroom or one deck above.  

The Executive Officer's bedroom, located off the larger space that served as lounge and office.

Officers' wash space, with sinks and shower stalls.

A smaller stateroom for a more junior ranking officer, equipped with a small desk, wash basin, mirror, and cabinets, as well as a bunk (not seen).

In contrast to the relatively comfortable quarters enjoyed by Wisconsin's officers, enlisted personnel slept in large dormitory style compartments outfitted with bunk beds and with little storage space for personal items.

Another view of one of the crew bunks located deep in the ship.  USS Wisconsin was designed to accommodate 1,804 enlisted personnel but actually carried 2,738 in 1944 and 2,503 in 1949, making for very cramped accommodations.  By 1988, the enlisted complement was down to 1,450, and each crewman had his own bunk with privacy curtain, reading light, and storage locker. 

USS Wisconsin's Communications Center, comprising the Message Processing Center and  Facilities Control 1.  These spaces are full of communications gear for intercepting, decoding, and transmitting messages, and it was into the Communications Center that all orders to the ship to sail and perform strategic, operational, and tactical missions were processed.  

More communications gear occupies racks in the Communications Center, once a restricted space containing much classified cryptographic equipment.

Radiomen, teletype operators, Communications Yeomen, and Electronics Technicians maintained a 24/7 watch in the Communications Center, even when the ship was docked.

Facilities Control contained low and high frequency receivers, audio, radio teletypewriter, and digital patch panels and transfer switchboards for connecting all external tactical ship-to-ship, ship-to-aircraft and ship-to-shore voice and data communications networks. The various patch boards and switchboards are used to patch equipment and hundreds of circuits throughout the ship's tactical spaces such as the Admiral's and Captain's bridges, Combat Information Center, and Combat Engagement Center.

The USS Wisconsin's post office, which functioned much as a regular US Postal Service outlet on shore, processing regular and registered mail and selling stamps and money orders.    

Looking inside the Wisconsin's post office.  The post office was manned by US Navy Postal Clerks and the office was always busier than normal before and after each at-sea replenishment, when sailors could send outgoing mail and receive mail from home, delivered courtesy of the replenishment vessel.

More crew bunks in an endless maze of accommodation spaces below decks.

The ship's chapel, originally the Warrant Officers' mess and converted into a chapel during Wisconsin's refit in 1987-88.  The chapel served a variety of religious groups, and larger religious services for more personnel than could be accommodated here were held in the mess decks or outside on the fantail. 

A Chief Warrant Officer's stateroom.  Chief Warrant Officers ranked above the most senior enlisted personnel (Master Chief Petty Officers) and the most junior commissioned officers (Ensigns), and combined officer-level leadership skills with extensive technical knowledge.  Although Chief Warrant Officers were not originally permitted to command a ship because they possessed only a 'warrant' to fill a specific technical trade and did not have a 'commission' from Congress, today all Chief Warrant Officers in the US Navy are commissioned and may command units and small vessels.     

Looking down one of USS Wisconsin's long passageways, the compartmentalisation of sections clearly evident from the watertight hatches between compartments.

The USS Wisconsin's Public Affairs Office.  The Public Affairs Officer position is generally held by a junior line officer whose responsibilities include supervising the preparation of public affairs materials, choosing the best media to deliver messaging, responding to reporters' questions and assisting the ship's Commanding Officer during interviews, and preparing briefing material for onboard guests.  The Wisconsin's onboard newspaper, The Badger, was also overseen by the Public Affairs Officer.

One of the ship's heads, containing showers, sinks, and toilets.  Wisconsin's heads were modernised during the ship's 1987-88 refit, though the original sinks were retained and the new shower stalls adhered to the old design; however, the modern toilets installed were a major improvement over the original metal troughs and wooden plank seating.

The Chief Engineer's Office and Engineering Log Room.  The Chief Engineer was head of the Engineering Department and responsible for operating and maintaining the ship's main propulsion plant.  The Engineering Log Room maintained all department records and logs, blueprints, and technical manuals, and was staffed by a log room engineering yeoman from the Engineering Department.  The Chief Engineer held meetings in his office with his Main Propulsion Assistant, senior enlisted men, and division officers.  

The Educational Services Office aboard USS Wisconsin maintained a library of publications to assist crewmen in keeping up to date on their naval trades, as well as enhance their skills and knowledge for the purposes of promotion. 

The Electrical Shop, where the ship's electricians were responsible for fixing any problems with electrical motors, wiring, and onboard lighting.  Rewind Shop electricians were in charge of disassembling, repairing, and reassembling malfunctioning electric motors.  Additionally, USS Wisconsin's electricians checked any personal electrical appliances brought aboard, such as radios, coffee pots, toasters, televisions, or stereos, to ensure they were safe to use. 

The doughnut shop, which produced doughnuts throughout the day using a conveyor belt-fed deep fryer.  Doughnuts and coffee were morale boosters for sailors during long days at sea.  The ship's bakery also produced brownies, cakes, pies, and cookies for the crew.

The port side serving line in the Crew Mess; an identical serving line on the starboard side permitted the rapid distribution of food to hungry sailors.  After taking a tray, sailors proceeded down the serving line to pick up their meal, which they then ate in one of the cafeteria-style messes aft of the galley.  The double-wide passageway here allowed crew on duty to move about the ship while their off duty shipmates queued up for food.  At lunchtime, the port side serving line served hot meals, while the starboard serving line served fast food lunches (hotdogs, hamburgers, french fries) for those sailors wishing to eat more quickly. 

The Crew Mess, where food was prepared for the ship's enlisted crew, numbering between a high of 2,503 in 1949 and a low of 1,450 in 1988.  The mess was in the charge of the Chief Cook, whose work was approved by the Commanding Officer or Executive Officer.  Menus were regularly sampled by an officer to ensure crewmen were being fed balanced, nutritious meals.   

The Crew Mess is outfitted with stainless steel appliances and cooking utensils and kept very clean to avoid foodborne illnesses.  Four meals were served aboard USS Wisconsin each day (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight rations), with each meal being managed by one of four Watch Captains and with a galley crew working in shifts. 

Industrial sized deep fryers, ovens, and soup pots are evidence of the thousands of meals produced here each day.  For example, in one week during the Second World War, the ship's more than 2,700 officers and crew consumed 20 tons of food, including 4,110 pounds of vegetables, 1,640 pounds of fruit, 2,465 pounds of meat, 6,500 eggs, 1,200 pounds of potatoes, 1,500 pounds of flour, 164 pounds of butter, 217.5 gallons of ice cream, and 2,000 gallons of coffee.

Posters encouraged the ship's sailors not to waste food.

The cafeteria-style mess where sailors ate their meals.  This arrangement reflects the USS Wisconsin's 1987-88 refit, which incorporated modern conveniences, such as the soft drink dispensers and ice cream machines fitted in the mess.

The cafeteria-style mess runs through several large compartments, providing seating for hundreds at a time.

The Dental Clinic, where Navy Dental Corps Officers and Dental Technicians saw a steady stream of sailor patients for everything from teeth cleaning to dental surgery.  And because smaller ships like frigates and destroyers did not carry trained dentists, Wisconsin's dental officers were often dispatched to these vessels via boat, helicopter or bosun's chair to attend to sailors requiring dental care.

USS Wisconsin's port side refuelling gear.  The battleship could carry 2.3 million gallons of F-76 ship fuel, 37,000 gallons of helicopter fuel, and 210,000 gallons of fresh water, and often serviced smaller vessels in need of these commodities.  Wisconsin's onboard distilling plant could produce up to 60,000 gallons of fresh water daily, for use in the ship's boilers, and for cooking and other domestic needs of the crew.  USS Wisconsin refuelled so many smaller warships during the Second World War that her crew nicknamed her the 'USS Texaco'.   

USS Wisconsin's aft gun directors, part of the ship's fire control system and used to consistently and accurately deliver shells onto selected targets.  The pyramidal tower on the upper right is the Mark 38 gun director for the aft 16" guns in Turret III.  The tower with the round dish on top is a Mark 37 gun director for the 5"/38 guns, one of four such 'Sky' director positions aboard Wisconsin.  Crews manned these gun directors, using radar, optical instruments, and computers to target enemy positions.  

On the fantail of USS Wisconsin, located on the stern, aft of Turret III. A steel deck installed on the fantail during the ship's 1987-88 modernisation permitted the landing of even the heaviest helicopters in the US Navy, such as the M-53 Sea Stallion; however, even during the Korean War, helicopters had been landing on this spot, though directly onto the fantail's teak decking.

A final look at the USS Wisconsin, moored along the waterfront of downtown Norfolk.

A view inside the Nauticus marine science centre and museum.

The Silver Service for the first battleship USS Wisconsin (BB-9), crafted in 1899.  With the US Navy naming battleships after US states and cruisers after cities, a custom developed from 1890 wherein state and municipal governments would present their namesake ships with ornate formal silver services to demonstrate local pride.  Not all ships had silver services, and the custom was most popular between 1890 and 1910.  

With the first USS Wisconsin under construction in San Francisco in 1899, the Wisconsin state legislature voted to fund the purchase of a silver service for the state's namesake ship.  A $5,500 contract was awarded to the C. Preusser Jewelry Company of Milwaukee, which acted as agent, ordering the 35-piece set from the Gorham Company of Providence, Rhode Island, which was responsible for manufacturing more than two dozen US Navy silver services between 1891 and 1907.  The USS Wisconsin's silver service included two punch bowls, two large trays, a pair of candelabra, 24 punch cups, a fruit dish, a compote, and a centrepiece.  The silver service was presented to the ship shortly after its commissioning in 1901.  When the USS Wisconsin was decommissioned in 1920, the silver service was placed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, which did not have its own silver service.  Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, the silver service was removed and placed in storage.

With the second USS Wisconsin under construction in 1943, the Wisconsin state legislature voted $7,500 to refurbish the 1899 Wisconsin silver service and add additional pieces to the set.  Milwaukee jeweller Schwanke-Kasten was awarded the contract and subcontracted the work to the Gorham Company, as in 1899.  In addition to some original 1899 pieces that had to be replaced, a coffee pot, a tea pot, a hot water kettle, a sugar bowl, a cream pitcher, a waste bowl, and a tray were newly created.  Due to the Second World War, the silver service was not sent to the USS Wisconsin immediately, but rather displayed in Wisconsin until 26 October 1945, when members of the state committee travelled to San Francisco to present the silver service to the battleship. 

One of the punch bowls of the USS Wisconsin silver service.  Upon the decommissioning of the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) in 1948, the silver service was displayed in Wisconsin for the state centennial celebration, and then sent back to the US Navy, where it was placed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea.  Reassigned to the USS Wisconsin after its reactivation in 1951, it remained aboard until the ship's second decommissioning in 1958.  The service was then sent to Madison, Wisconsin for display at the State Historical Society.  The Wisconsin's third commissioning, in 1988, saw the silver service returned to the ship, where it was placed in a specially-constructed display case in the wardroom.  With the battleship's third and final decommissioning in 1991, the silver service was sent back to the State Historical Society in Madison and displayed there until 2000, when it was sent to the Hampton Roads Naval Museum at Nauticus.    

Hampton Roads Naval Museum

The entrance to the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, one of ten museums operated by the US Navy's Naval History and Heritage Command. Although located within the Nauticus building in Norfolk, admission to the Hampton Roads Naval Museum is free. Permanent exhibits chart the history of the US Navy in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, from the Revolutionary War era to the Cold War. Originally opened on 31 August 1979 in one of the former pavilions of the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, the museum relocated to Nauticus when the maritime science centre and museum opened on the Norfolk waterfront in 1994.

Below: A pamphlet for the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.  

An exhibit dedicated to the 5 September 1781 Battle of the Virginia Capes, also known as the Battle of the Chesapeake.  This battle, between a British fleet of 19 ships under Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves and a French fleet of 24 ships under the Comte de Grasse ended in a decisive French victory with profound strategic implications: Graves's defeat ensured that British land forces under Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis, besieged at Yorktown, Virginia, could not be reinforced or evacuated by the Royal Navy.  Lord Cornwallis's subsequent surrender to French and American Revolutionary forces at Yorktown on 19 October 1781 paved the way for the eventual recognition of United States independence by King George III in the 1783 Treaty of Paris.  The ship model in the display case is of the 104-gun Ville de Paris, the flagship of the Comte de Grasse at the Battle of the Virginia Capes, which held the centre of the French line.    

An 18-pounder naval cannon, cast in Britain by Walkers and Company in 1798.  The US Navy purchased such guns for its ships from British manufacturers beginning in that year.  Such 'long guns' formed the main armament on smaller ships and the secondary armament for larger American warships.  The designation '18-pounder' refers to the weight of the cannonball fired by the gun; the actual gun weighs 4,700 pounds.  The portrait behind the cannon is of Commodore Stephen Decatur, who distinguished himself in battles against the Barbary Pirates and in the War of 1812 and inspired the fledgling US Navy.  Decatur later died in a duel with Captain James Barron in 1820.

From the gallery devoted to the naval battles of the American Revolutionary War and War of 1812, visitors move into the gallery devoted to the Civil War period (1861-1865).

A display on the Anaconda Plan, Union General George McClellan's strategy of blockading the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and mounting a military expedition to seize the Mississippi River and the South's railway hubs and waterways in a bid to economically strangle the Confederate States.  The Atlantic Blockading Squadron, the command responsible for enforcing the Anaconda Plan on the east coast, was established at Norfolk in May 1861 and comprised a fleet of 22 obsolete sailing vessels, side-wheelers, large propeller-driven frigates, and gunboats.  

A model of of the USS Pennsylvania, authorised by Congress in 1816 but not completed until 1837. The Pennsylvania was the largest sailing warship ever built by the US Navy, fitted to carry up to 136 guns. The ship made only one voyage in its career, from Delaware Bay to Norfolk via Chesapeake Bay, to have its bottom coppered at the Norfolk Navy Yard. Used as an accommodation vessel at Norfolk, the USS Pennsylvania was deliberately burned on 20 April 1861 to prevent it falling into Confederate hands during the Civil War.

A display case filled with artefacts from the Battle of Hampton Roads, 8-9 March 1862.  This was the world famous first battle between ironclad ships, the Union's USS Monitor and the Confederacy's CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack).  Also on display are items recovered from the wreck of the USS Cumberland, sunk by the CSS Virginia, and scale models of both the Cumberland and the USS Merrimack prior to its conversion into an ironclad by the Confederacy.  

Scale models of the CSS Virginia (left) and the USS Monitor (right).  The battle arose from the Confederacy's desperate need to break the Union's naval blockade of the Atlantic coast, which had cut off Virginia's industrial cities of Richmond and Norfolk from international trade.  The epic battle between these two warships in Hampton Roads ended indecisively on 9 March 1862, but the emergence of ironclad warships revolutionised naval construction thereafter.  The CSS Virginia was later blown up by the Confederacy on 11 May 1862 to prevent its capture by Union forces and the USS Monitor foundered at sea and sank on 31 December 1862 with the loss of 16 men.  

A closer view of the USS Merrimack, one of a new generation of six steam-powered, propeller-driven frigates built by the US Navy.  Merrimack displaced 3,200 tons and measured 275 feet long and 38.5 feet wide, with a top speed of 12 knots (22.2 km/h) and armament consisting of 14 8-inch guns, two 10-inch guns, and 24 9-inch guns.  The ship was commissioned on 20 February 1856.  During the American Civil War, Merrimack was stationed in Norfolk and was burned to the waterline by retreating Union forces on 20 April 1861.  In need of ships, the Confederacy raised and rebuilt Merrimack as an ironclad with the new name of CSS Virginia.  

A cannonball from the CSS Virginia, as well as the ship's bell.

An exhibit on the Union Army's attempts to take the Confederate city of Richmond, Virginia.  The display notes Union General Ulysses S. Grant's use of combined Army-Navy operations in 1864, which saw General Benjamin F. Butler ordered to support Grant's operations by opening a 'back door' to Richmond by using the James River as a supply line in an attempt to take the Richmond-Petersburg railroad line.  Although Butler's uninspired leadership resulted in the failure to take Richmond via a back door, Butler did manage to establish a large supply depot at City Point, Virginia, which supported Grant's army throughout the campaign.   

A cutaway model of the CSS Richmond, an ironclad gunboat which served with the Confederate Navy's James River Squadron protecting Richmond, Virginia above Drewry's Bluff.  This squadron kept Union Navy ships behind defensive obstructions at Trent's Reach on the James River; however, on 23 January 1865, the squadron was ordered to attack the Union supply centre at City Point, Virginia and was repulsed by shore batteries and the river monitor USS Onondaga.  The CSS Richmond was destroyed by Confederate forces on 3 April 1865 to prevent its capture by the Union. 

A gallery devoted to the Confederate commerce raider CSS Florida.  The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is the official repository of the remains of two Civil War warships, the CSS Florida and the USS Cumberland.

The CSS Florida was secretly built in Liverpool, UK for the Confederate Navy.  To deceive Union ships, Florida had collapsible funnels to hide the fact that it was steam-powered, and a propeller that could be lifted up and into the hull when the ship was cruising under sail.

The CSS Florida attacked and sank 36 Union merchant ships between January 1863 and her capture by the USS Wachusett in the harbour of Bahia, Brazil on 7 October 1864.  Despite protests from Brazil that Wachusett had violated its territorial waters to capture CSS Florida, the Confederate raider was towed to Hampton Roads as a prize of war.  Although enduring a controllable leak for several days, on 28 November 1864 CSS Florida sank under mysterious circumstances, thereby preventing her delivery to Brazil in satisfaction of a court order or her return to the Confederacy.  One of Florida's former captains, J.N. Maffitt accused the US Navy of deliberately sinking the ship.

A gallery devoted to the US Navy's evolution between 1865 and 1914, a period marked first by post-Civil War decline and deterioration and then, from 1881, a technological leap forward through the introduction of steel-hulled battleships and cruisers.  The long, black object in the cradle seen in the centre of the photo is a torpedo from the Spanish cruiser Vizcaya, sunk by the armoured cruiser USS Brooklyn on 3 July 1898 in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, the decisive naval battle of the Spanish-American War. 

A model of the USS Nashville (PG-7), a gunboat built in Newport News, Virginia and commissioned into the US Navy on 19 August 1897.  During the Spanish-American War, Nashville captured four Spanish vessels between April and July 1898 and assisted in cutting the undersea telegraph cable offshore of Cienfuegos, Cuba.  The ship later saw service in the Philippines, China, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean, as well as in the Great Lakes as a naval reserve training vessel.  Five years of patrols in the West Indies and Central America followed from 1912.  During the First World War, Nashville served as a convoy escort in the Mediterranean, after which it returned to Charleston, South Carolina and decommissioned on 21 October 1918.    

A model of the protected cruiser USS Chicago, one of the US Navy's first four steel ships and the largest of the original three cruisers authorised by Congress for the 'New Navy' in 1883.  Commissioned on 17 April 1889, USS Chicago measured 342 feet 2 inches long, 48 feet 3 inches wide, with a displacement of 4,600 tons (as built) and armament comprising a mix of 8-inch, 6-inch, 5-inch, 6-pounder, 3-pounder, and 1-pounder guns.  Over the course of her career, the ship served in European and Mediterranean waters, as well as along the east and west coasts of North and South America and in the Caribbean.  During the First World War, Chicago served as flagship of Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic from April 1917, and in 1919 transferred to the Pacific.  She decommissioned on 30 September 1923 and, renamed Alton, foundered while under tow from Honolulu to San Francisco on 8 July 1936. 

A model of the USS Maine (ACR-1), an armoured cruiser of 6,789 tons commissioned into the US Navy on 17 September 1895.  Despatched to Havana, Cuba to protect American interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, Maine was anchored in Havana harbour on the night of 15 February 1898 when, at 9:40pm, she exploded without warning, killing 258 of her 374 crew.  The sinking of the Maine directly contributed to the American declaration of war against Spain in April 1898, with the rallying cry 'Remember the Maine!' being used by proponents to galvanise American public support for war.

A display on the US Navy's Flying Squadron, based at Norfolk during the 1898 Spanish-American War to protect the US east coast from possible Spanish attack.  Eventually, the Flying Squadron joined the rest of the US fleet for the decisively successful attack on the Spanish fleet off Cuba in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba, 3 July 1898.  This display contains a model of the USS Winslow (Torpedo Boat No. 5) and the ship's bell from the USS Nashville (PG-7), as well as prints depicting scenes from naval operations of the Spanish-American War.

Visitors move into the gallery dedicated to the World Wars.  The large black object in the centre of the photo is a Mark VI mine, a new type of underwater mine that was effective at great depths and easy to construct.  The mine's steel sphere held 300 pounds of TNT, detonated by an electrical relay on the mine casing, which was attached in turn to a copper cable suspended from a small float.  When a submarine or other steel ship touched the cable, an electric charge detonated the mine. 

A model of the destroyer USS Truxtun (DD-14), commissioned on 11 September 1902.  Displacing 440 tons, the ship was 259 feet 6 inches long, possessed a top speed of 29.6 knots (54.8 km/h), and was armed with two 3-inch guns, six 6-pounder guns, and two 18-inch torpedo tubes.  During the First World War, Truxtun undertook convoy escort and patrol duties out of Brest, France, unsuccessfully attacking a suspected German U-boat on 18 May 1918.  Truxtun was decommissioned on 18 July 1919 and later sold to commercial owners for conversion to a fruit-carrying merchant vessel. 

A model of USS Subchaser 136, built in response to the threat of German U-boats operating off the US Eastern Seaboard in the First World War.  A total of 440 subchasers were built for the US Navy during the war, with Subchaser 136 being one of 21 such vessels built by Norfolk Naval Shipyard. 

A print of 'Return of the Mayflower' by Bernard F. Gribble, depicting Norfolk-based destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 8 arriving off the coast of Ireland on the morning of 4 May 1917.  Destroyer Squadron 8 was the first US Navy unit to arrive in Europe following the US declaration of war against Germany.

A display on the Great Depression, the interwar isolationism of the United States, the slump in naval construction, and the consequent decline in naval activity in the Hampton Roads region.  The 1922 Washington Naval Limitations Treaty, which placed a 10-year halt on capital ship construction, led to work on the battleships North Carolina and Iowa (being built, respectively, in Norfolk and Newport New) being halted.  Despite the rise of American isolationist sentiment and the financial constraints imposed by the Great Depression, the US Navy still managed to refit six battleships in 1924 and maintained a nucleus of skilled workers at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard.  The large ship's wheel shown in the photo belonged to the Colorado-class battleship USS West Virginia (BB-48), the last battleship constructed in the United States before the outbreak of the Second World War.  West Virginia was built at Newport News and commissioned on 1 December 1923; it was badly damaged by Japanese planes in the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.    

The builder's plaque from the USS Ranger (CV-4), the first ship of the US Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier.  Built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and commissioned on 4 June 1934, Ranger spent the Second World War based in the Atlantic, where she first served in President Roosevelt's 'Neutrality Patrol' from 1939 and later supported the landings in North Africa (Operation Torch) in November 1942 and air attacks against German shipping off Norway (Operation Leader) in October 1943.  The ship's small size compared to later classes of wartime US carriers meant that Ranger was less versatile than larger carriers with larger embarked air wings.  As such, Ranger was decommissioned on 18 October 1946 and sold for scrap in 1947.

A display about the massive influx into the Hampton Roads region of new naval recruits during the Second World War, including the lively nightlife enjoyed by sailors on shore leave in Norfolk.

A gallery devoted to the Battle of the Atlantic.

The Battle of the Atlantic gallery is dominated by a large diorama depicting the capture of the German submarine U-505 by the destroyer escort USS Pillsbury (DE-133) and the escort carrier USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60) on 4 June 1944, 150 miles off the coast of Cape Blanco, French West Africa.  This was the first U-boat captured intact by the US Navy, and contained a wealth of intelligence information, including an Enigma coding machine and its current code books.  The capture of U-505 was kept secret and only publicly acknowledged after the war. 

A closer view of the diorama depicting the capture of U-505.  The USS Pillsbury was an Edsall-class destroyer escort of 1,590 ton fully loaded, measuring 306 feet long.  The Casablanca-class escort carrier USS Guadalcanal measured 512 feet long, displacing 7,800 tons.  U-505 was a Type IXC submarine, displacing 1,232 tons submerged.  Guadalcanal and Pillsbury were assisted in the capture of U-505 by other vessels, boarding parties, and aircraft from Task Group 22.3.

Displays tell the story of the rapid and enormous growth of the naval shipbuilding industry and US Navy infrastructure in the Hampton Roads area, including at the Norfolk and Newport News shipyards.  At its peak in February 1943, the Norfolk Naval Shipyard employed 43,000 people and repaired and overhauled 6,850 US and Allied ships.  The efficiency of the shipyard was demonstrated in the construction of the Gleaves-class destroyer USS Shubrick (DD-639), which was completed in only 61 days.  The large bell seen in the photo is from the USS Alabama (BB-60), a South Dakota-class battleship commissioned on 16 August 1942 and decommissioned on 9 January 1947 after service in both the Atlantic and Pacific theatres.  USS Alabama has been preserved as a museum ship at Mobile, Alabama since 1965. 

A model of USS Alabama (BB-60) sits under a quote from America's best known naval theorist and strategist, Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), author of the influential book, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783.

A display on the massive Second World War expansion of Newport News Shipbuilding, which became the national leader in aircraft carrier production, building nine Essex-class carriers and the larger carrier USS Midway during the war. In addition, the Newport News shipyard also completed eight light cruisers and various landing craft, as well as numerous wartime vessel conversions, work that employed over 31,000 people in 1943. Builder's plaques from the Cleveland-class light cruiser USS Houston (CL-81) and the South Dakota-class battleship USS Indiana (BB-58) are included in the display.

A display on notable Cold War conflicts involving Norfolk-based units of the US Navy, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War.  The porthole mounted on the display (centre right) comes from the carrier USS Essex (CV-9), flagship of Task Force Alpha, a special anti-submarine warfare squadron.  As noted in the display, in April 1961 Task Force Alpha departed Norfolk for Cuba, being ordered to burn the ships' American flags and paint over the ships' names.  Additionally, and while en route to Cuba, USS Essex received a combat-loaded air wing of unmarked A-4 Skyhawk aircraft to support the Bay of Pigs invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles.    

A model of the Los Angeles-class nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Norfolk (SSN-714).  USS Norfolk was the 27th Los Angeles-class boat constructed for the US Navy and was built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company between August 1979 and October 1981.  Commissioned on 21 May 1983, USS Norfolk was decommissioned on 11 December 2014 after 31 years, 6 months, and 10 days of service.

A model of the Spruance-class destroyer USS Stump (DD-978), built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi and commissioned into the US Navy on 19 August 1978.  The 529 foot long, 8,040 ton ship was the 16th Spruance-class destroyer built and carried a crew of 19 officers and 315 enlisted personnel.  The ship was armed with two 5-inch guns, two 20mm Phalanx close-in weapons systems, anti-submarine rockets, Seasparrow, Harpoon, Tomahawk, and RIM-116 missiles, and Mark 32 torpedoes, as well as two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.  USS Stump was decommissioned on 22 October 2004 and later sunk as a target off the coast of North Carolina on 7 June 2006.        

MacArthur Memorial

The former Norfolk City Hall, completed in 1850, houses part of the MacArthur Memorial, specifically the tombs of General Douglas MacArthur and his wife Jean and a museum dedicated to the general's life and career.  Two other buildings, the Visitor Center and the Jean MacArthur Research Center, make up the rest of the MacArthur Memorial, which sits on MacArthur Square in downtown Norfolk. 

A statue of General Douglas MacArthur stands in front of the Memorial.

Below: A brochure and tour guide for the MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, Virginia.

The tombs of General MacArthur (1880-1964) and his wife Jean (1898-2000), located in the rotunda of the Memorial.  Visitors enter the rotunda before proceeding through the galleries dedicated to General MacArthur's life and career.  Though born in Little Rock, Arkansas, General MacArthur chose to be buried in Norfolk as his mother, Mary Pinkney Hardy, was born and raised in the city's Berkley neighbourhood. 

The rotunda is adorned with marble plaques inscribed with General MacArthur's positions and notable quotes, as well as the flags of divisions that served under him in the Second World War and the Korean War.  Carved around the top of the rotunda walls are the names of famous battles in which General MacArthur served. 

Displays chronicle the life and career of General MacArthur.  Here, the story of MacArthur's appointment as Field Marshal of the Philippines in 1936, his efforts to  coordinate Philippine defence plans, and his recall to active duty with the US Army in July 1941 is recounted.  The display boards also showcase various artefacts owned by General MacArthur, this board featuring MacArthur's Field Marshal's baton and a set of miniature medals. 

A display on General MacArthur's escape from the besieged Filipino fortress of Corregidor aboard a PT boat on 11 March 1942.  A model of PT Boat 41, the one on which MacArthur and his family broke through the Japanese blockade, rests in the display case.  MacArthur would eventually make it to Australia, where he took command of Allied forces in the South West Pacific area.  

A display on the Japanese at war contains a number of historic artefacts, including a Japanese infantry rifle, a 'Baby' Nambu pistol, Japanese naval rating badges, a Japanese officer's sword and scabbard, a Japanese Army bugle, and various items of equipment carried by a typical Japanese infantryman.

A display on the reformation of Japanese society following Japan's surrender in 1945.  As Supreme Commander Allied Powers in postwar Occupied Japan, General MacArthur was tasked with demilitarising and democratising the country.  MacArthur oversaw the establishment of a new Japanese constitution and a Bill of Rights in 1945, which removed all restrictions on political, civil, and religious liberties, freed all political prisoners, abolished secret police organisations, and guaranteed freedom of speech.  Article 9 of the Japanese constitution forbid Japan from using 'force as a means of settling international disputes'.  Other reforms were made to the national education system, labour laws, and to women's rights (suffrage and property rights, marriage based on mutual consent, ability of women to run for political office).

One of a pair of cloissone vases crafted by Japanese potter Tamigoro Hayashi and presented to General MacArthur in 1946.  They are now known as the MacArthur Vases. 

Some of the gifts received by General MacArthur during his time as head of the occupation forces in postwar Japan: 19th century Imari porcelain plates and vases, ceramic temple dragons, and a gold lacquered chest presented by Empress Nagako.

A display on General MacArthur's command of United Nations forces during the first part of the Korean War, when he planned and oversaw the daring amphibious assault landings at Inchon in September 1950 that routed the North Korean People's Army and saved the Republic of Korea from defeat.  Disagreeing profoundly with President Truman's policy on Korea and pushing hard for a naval blockade of the Chinese coasts and the bombing of supply routes in China and Manchuria, MacArthur continued to criticise administration policy despite a gag order being placed on him by the White House.  After a personal letter from MacArthur containing strong criticisms of US policy was read out on the floor of the US Congress by a Republican congressman, President Truman relieved MacArthur of his command on 11 April 1951.   

A display on General MacArthur's later years, between 1952 and 1964, when he served as a valued advisor to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, and made a final trip to the Philippines in July 1961 to celebrate the anniversary of the country's independence. 

A display recounting General MacArthur's memoirs, which he wrote in 1963, and his death on 5 April 1964.  The display also contains the American flag which was draped on MacArthur's casket, the Drum Major's baton used for his state funeral procession, and the trumpet played during his funeral. 

A mural entitled Reminiscences (1966), by Alton S. Tobey, depicting the life of General MacArthur from 1880 to 1964.   

A display case contains MacArthur icons: the General's distinctive (and bespoke) Field Marshal's cap, his corncob pipe, and his Ray Ban aviator sunglasses.  A portrait of General MacArthur in khaki uniform and brown leather bomber jacket hangs over the glass case with his artefacts. 

The MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center features a gallery for special exhibits, General MacArthur's personal staff car and other Second World War vehicles, and a theatre showing a 27-minute biographical documentary about MacArthur. 

The special exhibits gallery in the MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center.  In April 2018, this gallery featured an exhibit entitled, Over Here, Over There: America's Homefront & Expeditionary Force in World War I.

General Douglas MacArthur's 1950 Chrysler Crown Imperial Limousine, which he used from late-1950 to 1963.  It was sent to Japan to replace an older car the General had been using and, when MacArthur was relieved of command in Korea and recalled to the United States in April 1951, this car went with him for his continued use in New York.  The US Army donated the car to the MacArthur Memorial in 1963.

Norfolk Southern Museum

Located in the Norfolk Southern Railway's corporate headquarters in Norfolk is the Norfolk Southern Museum.  Admission is free, and the museum houses an interesting array of railway artefacts while telling the story of the railway's history and operations.  Norfolk Southern operates more than 21,000 miles of track in 22 eastern US states, with a heavy emphasis on hauling domestic and export coal from mines in Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.   

A Norfolk and Western locomotive bell, 1920s-1940s.

Artefacts from some of Norfolk Southern Railway's predecessor railways.  On display here is a menu, plate, and cup & saucer from Southern Railway's Crescent Limited between New York and New Orleans; a 1910 advertisement for Mobile and Ohio Railroad; Richmond and Danville Railroad passenger tickets from 1886; and a Norfolk and Western Railway passenger ticket from the 1890s.     

A display of historic railway timetables from some of Norfolk Southern's predecessor railroads, including Southern Railway, Norfolk and Western Railway, Wabash, the Nickel Plate Road, Pennsylvania Railroad, Erie-Lackawana Railroad, Lehigh Valley Railroad, and Conrail.

An exhibit dedicated to the safety measures Norfolk Southern Railway has instituted, with historic photos and signage on display.  

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