Newport News, Virginia

From Academic Kids

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Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth and Norfolk, Virginia from space, July 1996

Newport News is an independent city located in Virginia. It is on the southeastern end of the Virginia Peninsula, on the north shore of the James River extending to its mouth Hampton Roads. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 180,150.

The name of Newport News has long been a puzzle to those curious about the origin of place names. To this day nobody really knows how the City got its name. Several versions are recorded. One popular explanation holds that when the first Jamestown, Virginia colonists left to return to England after the Starving Time of 1610, they encountered Captain Christopher Newport's ship in the James River off Mulberry Island, and learned that reinforcements of men and supplies had arrived, and that the colonists need not abandon Jamestown. Thus the City was named for Newport's good news. Less dramatically, the city may have derived its name from an old English word "news" meaning "new town." Another theory is that the original name was New Port Neuce, named for a person with the name Neuce and the town's place as a new seaport. That the name was formerly written as Newport's News is verified by numerous early documents and maps, and by local tradition. The change to Newport News apparently was brought about by usage, for by 1851 the Post Office Department sanctioned New Port News as the name of the first post office, and in 1866 it approved the name as Newport News.


Heritage: Warwick River Shire and Warwick County

Newport News was originally located in Warwick River Shire, one of eight created in colonial Virginia in 1634. During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607, English settlers and explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. By 1634, the English colony of Virginia consisted of eight shires or counties with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants.

Warwick River Shire became Warwick County in 1637. By 1810, the county seat was at Denbigh. Virginia has had an independent city political subdivision since 1871, and Newport News became independent of Warwick County in 1896 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. Independent city status guarantees protection against annexation of territory by adjacent communities. In 1952, Warwick County became the independent City of Warwick, and in 1958, was consolidated with the independent city of Newport News, assuming the better-known name, and forming the third largest city population-wise in Virginia with a 65 square mile area. The boundaries of the City of Newport News today are essentially the boundaries of the original Warwick River Shire and those of Warwick County for most of its existence.

Collis P. Huntington: builder of a new railroad and a shipyard

The city was essentially founded by Collis P. Huntington, builder of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and its coal piers and Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, the world's largest shipyard. Huntington began acquiring land in Warwick County in 1865, and developed the coal piers and the shipyard during the next 20 years. Huntington Park, near the northern terminus of the James River Bridge, is named in his honor.

Notable features

Newport News is the location of Fort Eustis, an important U.S. Army base built in Warwick County at the mouth of the Warwick River in beginning in 1918. The city is also famous as the birthplace of legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, author William Styron, and Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick who attended Warwick High, played football, and was honored by the school in 1999 by retiring his football jersey. The Mariners' Museum, the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and Christopher Newport University are located in Newport News.


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Location of Newport News, Virginia

Newport News is located at 37°4'15" North, 76°29'4" West (37.071046, -76.484557)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 308.3 km² (119.1 mi²). 176.9 km² (68.3 mi²) of it is land and 131.5 km² (50.8 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 42.64% water.

Newport News entered a Sister City relationship with Neyagawa, Osaka-fu, Japan in 1982. Newport News has a second sister city in Taizhou which is in the Jiangsu Province in China and possibly in the near future a relationship with Greifswald, Germany.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 180,150 people, 69,686 households, and 46,341 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,018.5/km² (2,637.9/mi²). There are 74,117 housing units at an average density of 419.0/km² (1,085.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 53.50% White, 39.07% African American, 0.42% Native American, 2.33% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.79% from other races, and 2.77% from two or more races. 4.22% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 69,686 households out of which 35.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% are married couples living together, 17.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% are non-families. 27.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.50 and the average family size is 3.04.

The age distribution is: 27.5% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $36,597, and the median income for a family is $42,520. Males have a median income of $31,275 versus $22,310 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,843. 13.8% of the population and 11.3% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.6% of those under the age of 18 and 9.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Newport News is served by two airports. The primary airport for the Hampton Roads area is Norfolk International Airport, on the opposite side of Hampton Roads in Norfolk. The region's secondary airport, Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, is located within the city of Newport News.


The main provider of primary and secondary education in the city is Newport News Public Schools. Several private schools are located in the area as well. Christopher Newport University is located with the city, and Old Dominion University and The College of William and Mary are located nearby.

See also

Newport News Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

External links

City of Newport News (



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