Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pine Beach Hotel

By Katherine A. Renfrew
Hampton Roads Naval Museum Registrar

The late 19th century and advent of the 20th century saw a surge in the construction of seaside resorts.  With the expansion of the railroad, per capita income grew considerably and a predominately agrarian society transformed into a growing urban one creating an ever-increasing demand for summer resorts.  

One such resort was the Pine Beach Hotel located on the present site of Building W-143 on Naval Station Norfolk.  Built in 1902, this grand building can be considered the beginning of the development of the naval facilities in the Sewell’s Point area. The three-story shingle style building boasted several cupolas and verandas; and was made completely of wood. During the 1907 Jamestown Exposition it accommodated thousands of visitors, and was considered “one of the most popular of Norfolk’s many watering places.”

In 1917 the U.S. Navy purchased the building along with the 100.8 acres attached to the Pine Beach Estate, 367 acres of the former Jamestown Exposition Grounds and 6 acres by Maryland Avenue. The hotel served as a temporary hospital, BOQ, Marine Barracks and finally as the Marine Corps Supply Depot. The hotel was deemed a fire hazard; and its location, in the heart of the Supply Depot area, was too valuable a piece of property for it to remain.  By June 1942, the building was razed.  In its place, Building 143 had begun construction.  

Pine Beach Hotel, Pine Beach, VA - View of West Front, 1907. This photograph depicts a portion of the then future property of the Naval Operating Base.  The Secretary of the Navy approved the site and plan in the early part of June 1917.  Construction began on July 4, 1917. National Archives and Records Administration, NS-Norfolk-1907-04 (RG 71-CA, Box 324, Folder C)

Pine Beach Hotel Postcard, Norfolk, VA – The Pine Beach Hotel was located just outside the Jamestown Exposition grounds and was convenient for guests visiting the fair.  (Collection of the Hampton Roads Naval Museum)
Pine Beach Hotel, located on block west of Virginia Avenue and north of 102nd Street, 1907. National Archives and Records Administration NS-Norfolk-1907-03 (RG 71-CA, Box 324, Folder C)

Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, VA – Looking N.W. to Western Bulkhead from hospital, July 22, 1918. National Archives and Records Administration NS-Norfolk-1918-16b (RG 71-CA, Box 327, Folder D)

Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, VA – Officer’s Quarters, (Formerly Pine Beach Hotel) looking at west side, Bldg. #96, Unit W, May, 4, 1922. National Archives and Records Administration NS-Norfolk-1922-55 (RG 71-CA, Box 326, Folder A)

Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, VA – Aerial view of the former Pine Beach Hotel and Main Gate, August 17, 1925. National Archives and Records Administration NS-Norfolk-1925-01 (RG 71-CA, Box 322, Folder A)

Aerial view of Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, VA - Arrow points to Building W-143, the Fleet Industrial and Supply Center, where the Pine Beach Hotel once stood, June 19, 1953. National Archives and Records Administration NS-Norfolk-1953-22 (RG 71-CP, Box 81, Folder 2258)

This brief history of the Pine Beach Hotel is the first in a series of blogs illustrating the development of Naval Station Norfolk. Unless otherwise noted, the photographs in this series represent the results of a research project seeking images of Hampton Roads naval installations at the National Archives and Records Administration. This research, performed by the Southeastern Archaeological Research, was funded by Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic as part of an ongoing effort to provide information on historic architectural resources at navy bases in Hampton Roads. The museum is pleased to present these images for the benefit of the general public and interested historians. As far as we know, all of these images are in the public domain and none of them have been published before.

1 comment:

Marcus Robbins said...

The use of period photos along with excellent written documentation paints a picture of the early beginnings of Norfolk Naval Station in 1917. Another fine blog by the Hampton Roads Naval Museum staff. 😀