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Old 12-15-2010, 10:31 AM
 
371 posts, read 858,655 times
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I always wanted to see pictures of the original Norfolk before the city was torn down. Does anybody have any pictures or links to pictures?
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Thornrose
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I don't personally have any, but another poster by the name of cityboi757 had posted one or two. Maybe you can research some of his posts.

Warning though, if you are a fan of old dense historical industrial cities, like Baltimore, or Pittsburgh, you will be heartbroken by what happened there. Imaging Granby street, not as it is now, but the entire downtown area, and farther out.

The above mentioned poster had posted a before and after shot of downtown once, and my jaw dropped. It was like a atom bombed leveled the city. Makes me angry.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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There are quite a few available from the Norfolk Public Library.

Check out this online gallery: Gallery

The third floor of the downtown library branch is full of local history as well.

It sickens me what the city government has done in the past several decades. They decided the best thing to do with the city was destroy 90% of the buildings and replace half of downtown's footprint with public housing projects...
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Old 12-15-2010, 01:13 PM
 
371 posts, read 858,655 times
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Thank yall for the responses. I feel where yall are coming from because it really is sickening looking at the old photo's of Norfolk. What were people thinking when they decided to destroy the downtown and many other sections of the city? Norfolk was much more dense back in the days and had a Richmond/Baltimore gritty feel to it from the looks of the pictures. I'm guessing Church Street was a major street back in the days also. The city probably would have been able to attract more people if they would not have destroyed the buildings.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:00 AM
 
1,700 posts, read 5,518,803 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kbank007 View Post
Thank yall for the responses. I feel where yall are coming from because it really is sickening looking at the old photo's of Norfolk. What were people thinking when they decided to destroy the downtown and many other sections of the city? Norfolk was much more dense back in the days and had a Richmond/Baltimore gritty feel to it from the looks of the pictures. I'm guessing Church Street was a major street back in the days also. The city probably would have been able to attract more people if they would not have destroyed the buildings.
Norfolk took on the federally funded urban renewal projects beginning in 1949 with the intention of rebuilding the entire city. Every major city in the country did urban renewal projects, but Norfolk's were a bit more comprehensive than most, and the city prided itself on that at the time. In fact, they were the first city in the nation to get federal funds for urban renewal. The first step was to raze the slums that surrounded Downtown and replace them with brand-new public housing projects. The idea was that new homes for residents of the slums will cause them to make better life choices and become better people. What Norfolk was left with were barrack-style projects that were not much better than the slums they replaced. Those same projects are there today.

The Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority bulldozed thousands of "blighted" structures all over the city. Urban renewal projects were used by politicians as major tools to get votes, saying that they were efforts to eliminate poverty and crime of the inner-city while beautifying it simultaneously. What happened was thousands of Norfolk residents being displaced after their homes were demolished, and much of Norfolk's historic character erased. Historic preservation of buildings was not the powerful trend it is today, so it was easy for the city to destroy just about anything in the name of "progress."

Norfolk was definitely a bustling harbor town back then. I have some pictures on my flickr of the city from 1915 and 1919. I got them from the Library of Congress's online catalog. Be sure to look at the largest size for all the detail:

All sizes | Norfolk Harbor, 1915 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/xgrendelx/5119648164/sizes/l/in/set-72157622526774382/ - broken link)

All sizes | Norfolk Skyline, 1919 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/xgrendelx/5119571424/sizes/l/in/set-72157622526774382/ - broken link)

All sizes | Granby Street, early 1900s. | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/xgrendelx/5119045583/sizes/l/in/set-72157622526774382/ - broken link)
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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Another thing that really cemented the decline is the urban sprawl that took the life blood out of downtown out to the outlying areas. My mom was born and raised in Norfolk and remembers when shoppers were everywhere walking up and down Granby. It was like a mini NY back then. I can imagine those days are long gone, perhaps forever.
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