Overview & Fun Facts

No one knows for sure where Newport News got its name, but "Newportes Newes" first appears in the Virginia Company records in 1619, making it one of the oldest place names in the New World. The most widely accepted folktale is that our city is the namesake of Captain Christopher Newport, commander of Susan Constant, flagship of the three ship English fleet that landed on Jamestown Island in 1607. He made several voyages to Newport News in the early days of the Jamestown Colony, bringing "good news" of supplies and settlers.

Newport News, settled in 1621, is approximately 23 miles long and three miles wide. It is the fourth largest city in size in the state, with its boundaries encompassing 70.38 square miles. Newport News has a population of approximately 185,200 people.

Newport News played a major role in the Peninsula Campaign during the Civil War. Numerous earthen fortifications and attractions that relate to the Civil War can be experienced in Newport News. In addition, the famous "Battle of the Ironclads" took place off the shores of Newport News in 1862.

Collis P. Huntington, a Northern railroad tycoon from Connecticut, brought two magnet industries to Newport News: the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad and Newport News Shipbuilding.

Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, established in 1886, built many of the U.S. super aircraft carriers including the Enterprise, Kennedy, Washington, Vinson, and Roosevelt.

Newport News was designated as a Port of Embarkation by the U.S. Army immediately after America's entry into WWI. The final major military base during WWI was Camp Eustis, which later came to be known as Fort Eustis. Named after the founder of Fort Monroe's Artillery School of Practice and War of 1812 veteran Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, the camp was created in 1918 to meet the need for an artillery firing range.

Hilton Village, the first government-subsidized "planned community" was constructed as a pilot program due to the shortage of housing related to the war effort. Hilton was dedicated on July 7, 1918.

Here in Newport News, we experience all four seasons. In the winter, our average annual snowfall is less than two inches, so do not expect too many sleigh rides. Spring brings some showers for our blooming flowers. Therefore, expect a little less than four inches of rainfall as the average per month. Summer temperatures average mid 80's; perfect for sunning, swimming, boating, and fishing. Fall's pleasant temperatures average mid 60's; ideal weather for viewing our fall foliage while cruising the James River, hiking along one of our many trails, or canoeing on one of our lakes.