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The North End Huntington Heights Preservation Association
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NORTH END - HUNTINGTON HEIGHTS
The North End - Huntington Heights Historic District is a 22 block, early twentieth century/neighborhood developed primarily between 1900 and 1935.
The North End features a wealth of architectural designs including the Queen Anne, Beaux Arts, Colonial Revival, Bungalow, American Foursquare and Tudor
This tract of land was originally part of the domain of the Chesapeake and Kecoughtan Indians, the latter tribe led by Chief Powhatan, father of Pocahontas.
In the early 19th century, before the Civil War, this land was part of the Lee-Haughton farm. All the farm buildings of the Lee Haughton family were burned
during the Civil War. This area was under Union occupation.
In 1880, Collis P. Huntington, wealthy railroad magnate and president of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Compnay, and his old Dominion Land Company acquired
thousands of acres of farmland on the peninsula in anticipation of the construction of the terminus of the C&O Railway. The city of Newport News was incorporated
in 1896 and by the first decade of the twentieth century, was already getting crowded.
The Old Dominion Land Company laid out blocks in the North End with 25 x 100 foot lots. Most were sold in pairs for building so that the typical North End home is
on a 50 X 100 foot lot. Records from the period show that double lots near Warwick Boulevard sold for $600 - $800 while lots near Huntington Avenue sold for $800 -
The first home built was the J.A. Willet House at 5500 Huntington Avenue, in 1899. Among the oldest and most impressive houses in the district is the handsome
Beaux Arts style dwelling at 5600 Huntington Avenue built in 1902 for Walter A. Post, first resident president of the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock
Company and first mayor of Newport News. The Post house surrounded by its original wrought-iron fence occupies the entire east side of the 5600 block of
Huntington Avenue, the largest lot in the North End.
An unusual expression of the Colonial Revival is found in the Homer L. Ferguson house built in 1906 at 5700 Huntington Avenue. Mr. Ferguson was the second and
longest tenured president (1915 to 1946) of the Shipyard. Author and newspaper columnist Park Rouse recalled his days growing up on 59th Street, "It's
the people I remember best. Homer Ferguson was a figure of earthy charm who could talk as easily to an illiterate welder as he did with Henry E. Huntington,
who had succeeded his Uncle Collis as chairman of the yard and chief stockholder of the C&O. Like any good boss, Ferguson knew most of his workers by name or face
. . . and Mrs. Ferguson was often to be seen putt-putting down the avenue in her electric car. It had vases of artificial flowers inside. We kids used to run
after it as it glided noiselessly under the sycamores."
Other prominent residents of North End - Huntington Heights included Philip W. Hiden, Mayor of Newport News (5600 Huntington Avenue); Samuel R. Buxton, Mayor of
Newport News (5300 Huntington Avenue); W.T. Chapin, realtor and developer of much of the North End above 64th Street (5512 Huntington Avenue); W.E. Barrett,
realtor and reputedly the wealthiest man in Newport News in 1915 (5601 Huntington Avenue); Saxon W. Holt, wholesale merchant and later Lieutenant Governor of
Virginia (5712 Huntington Avenue); the McMurran family, Lewis A. McMurran Jr. State Representative (5912 Huntington Avenue); and Thomas Downing, former
U.S. Congressman (314 64th Street).
From marble windowsills to mahogany beams, each home in the North End - Huntington Heights area boasts a wealth of architectural features and craftsmanship
unmatched in the city.
In 1986 the North End community was officially recognized as a Virginia Historic Landmark. It is now also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It
was declared and zoned as a Historic District by the city of Newport News in October 1999.