|The Norfolk College for Young Ladies, built in |
1880 was destroyed by fire a centurty later.
Courtesy of Norfok Public Library
“So this is not going to be really a happy program,” the speaker, William B. Inge, told a gathering at the Chrysler Museum on Wednesday night.
It was about one-time schools, churches, hotels, houses, theaters and office buildings that are now gone. Some were of local, architectural and even national significance, but “through either fire, neglect or redevelopment have all vanished from our landscape.”
Inge, a one-time appraiser of historic properties and now building historian for the Sargeant Memorial Collection of the Norfolk Public Library, presented a slide show last week, “Lost Norfolk: Vanished Scenes from Norfolk’s Past.” for the Norfolk Historical Society’s “Second Wednesday” series.
There’s been a lot of vanishing.
Out of a vast collection of 60,000 photos in the Sargeant archives, he chose 50. “Unfortunately, every building that you’re going to see has long since gone,” he said.
Among the casualties numerous downtown hotels, railroad station, a burlesque house, an armory, a women’s college and dozens of homes. Some burned to the ground. Some were knocked down to make room for newer structures or parking lots. Some were destroyed simply because they were old.
In the mid-1900s, when much of the city’s downtown was cleared for urban renewal, “Norfolk fell in love with the bulldozer,” Inge said.
The entire talk, “Lost Norfolk,” was recorded and is available online.