About Newport News, Virginia
Newport News is located in the Tidewater region of Virginia at the south-western end of the Virginia Peninsula on the north shore of the James River and bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It's part of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area, which encompasses six other cities – Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Hampton and Virginia Beach. The city has a total area of approximately 119.1 square miles according to the United States Census Bureau. Just over sixty-three square miles of these are land and almost fifty-two square miles is comprised of water. The city's population is about 179,614 people as of 2008.
Along with Norfolk, Newport news serves as one of the business centers on the Peninsula. The city shares land borders with James City County, York County and Hampton. It also shares water borders with Portsmouth, Suffolk, Isle of Wight County and Surry County. Newport News doesn't experience climatic extremes, but rather four moderate seasons. It has an annual average of forty-seven inches of rainfall with a snowfall of six inches and an annual average temperature of about seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, Newport News is typically south of the average path of storms coming fromhigher altitudes and north of the hurricanes and other tropical storms.
Newport News was one of the eight original shires of Virginiaformed by the House of Burgesses in the British Colony of Virginia. At that time, it was part of Warwick county and was mainly comprised of farms and undeveloped land. The origin of the city’s name is unknown, but "Newportes Newes" appears in the Virginia Company records as far back as 1619, making it one of the oldest place names in the New World. Many believe the name came from Captain Christopher Newport who explored the city after landing at Jamestown in 1607.
In 1815, Collis P. Huntington began a period of leadership, developing the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway from Richmond. This provided a new pathway for the railroad to bring coal to port for export and opened up transportation along the Peninsula. Located on the James River waterfront, Portsmouth's original downtown area changed tremendously with the development of the railroad. It went from a few farms to a bustling new city. Initially fashionable housing and big businesses increased, but eventually suburban development took over.
There are thirty-two parks maintained by the city of Newport News. One of these is the second-largest city park in the United States — Newport News Park. At 8,065 acres it's the largest in the city, while the smallest in the city is less than half an acre. The parks, that are scattered throughout the city, offer an array of enjoyment for visitors. From fishing and camping to archery and disc golf, there are activities for children and adults alike.
There is also an abundance of historical sites in Newport News — eight of which are maintained by the city and four of these area within parks. Most of the sites, including the Monitor-Merrimac Overlook and the Warwick Court House, were significant during the Peninsula Campaign of the American Civil War in 1862. Additionally, there are five museums in the city – Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion, Lee Hall Train Depot, Newsom House Museum & Cultural Center and the Virginia War Museum. Sports programs and community centers are also plentiful in the area. The city runs eight facilities and community centers for Newport News residents. These include Achievable Dream Tennis Center, Deer Run Golf Course, Doris Miller Recreation Center and many more.
Newport News Public Schools is the main provider of primary and secondary education in the city. It provides thirty elementary schools, thirteen middle schools and ten high schools — Denbigh High School, Heritage High School, Menchville High School, Warwick High School and Woodside High School. All the middle and high schools but one are fully accredited. There are also several private school in the area, including Denbigh Baptist Christian School, Hampton Roads Academy, Peninsula Catholic High School and Warwick River Christian School.
Christopher Newport University, a public university, is the only college in the city, but there are many other universities, colleges and community colleges within driving distance throughout Hampton Roads. Some of these include: Old Dominion University, Norfolk State University, The College of William and Mary, Hampton University, Regent University, Virginia Wesleyan College and Tidewater Community College and Thomas Nelson Community College.