Newport News - Encyclopedia

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NEWPORT NEWS, a city and port of entry of Warwick county, Virginia, U.S.A., on the James River and Hampton Roads, 14 m. N. by W. of Norfolk and 75 m. S.E. of Richmond; it is situated on what is known as the Virginia Peninsula. Pop. (1890) 4449; (1900) 19,635, of whom 1614 were foreign-born and 6798 were negroes; (1906 estimate) 28,749. Newport News is served by the Chesapeake & Ohio railway, of which it is a terminus; by river boats to Richmond and Petersburg, Va.; by coastwise steamship lines to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Providence; by foreign steamship lines to London, Glasgow, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, Rotterdam, Hamburg and other ports; and by electric lines to Old Point Comfort, Norfolk and Portsmouth. A public park extending from the James to the heart of the city, a deep, spacious and well-protected harbour, a large shipbuilding yard with three immense dry docks, and two large grain elevators of 2,000,000 bushels capacity, are among the most prominent features; at the shipbuilding yard various United States battleships, including the "Kearsarge," "Kentucky," "Illinois," "Missouri," "Louisiana," "Minnesota," "Virginia" and "West Virginia," were constructed, as well as cruisers, gun-boats, merchant vessels, ferry-boats and submarines. The city's export of grain and its coastwise trade in coal are especially large. Among the manufactures are shoes, tobacco, medicines and knit goods. The value of the factory products in 1905 was $9, 0 53,9 06, being 52.5% more than in 1900. Both in 1900 and in 1905 Newport News ranked second to Richmond among the cities of the state in the value of factory products. The first settlement on the site of Newport News was made in 1621 by planters brought from Ireland by Daniel Gookin, the father of Daniel Gookin (1612-1687) of Massachusetts, who selected the site on the advice of Sir William Newce and his brother Captain Newce. The present city dates only from 1882, when it was laid out in consequence of the extension of the Chesapeake & Ohio railway to the coast here; it was incorporated in 1896. The name is said to be in honour of Christopher Newport and Sir William Newce.

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