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A Guide to the Old Dominion Land Company Records, 1828-1949 Old Dominion Land Company Records, 1828-1949 42587

A Guide to the Old Dominion Land Company Records, 1828-1949

A Collection in
the Library of Virginia
Accession Number 42587


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Library of Virginia

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© 2009 By The Library of Virginia. All Rights Reserved.

Processed by: Newport News Public Library

Repository
The Library of Virginia
Accession Number
42587
Title
Old Dominion Land Company Records, 1828-1949
Extent
58 reels of microfilm (Misc. reels 5883-5940)
Language
English

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

Should you wish to quote from or reproduce images of any of the materials, you must write to Newport News Public Library System, 700 Town Center Drive, Suite 300, Newport News, Virginia 23606, requesting formal permission to do so. Please note that you do not have to obtain permission if you are quoting fewer than fifty words, or if you are only citing the document. Images made with microfilm-reader printers are for research use only and may not be used for publication without permission.

Preferred Citation

Old Dominion Land Company. Records, 1828-1949. Accession 42587. Business records collection, The Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA.

Acquisition Information

Loaned for copying by the Newport News Public Library System, 2005-2007.

Alternative Form Available

Originals available at the Newport News Public Library System, Newport News, Virginia.


Biographical Information

During the late 1860's financier Collis P. Huntington's attention was brought to the plight of the debt-ridden Chesapeake and Ohio Railway which stretched, at that time, from Richmond to Covington, Virginia. In 1869, he and a number of others formed a syndicate to purchase controlling interest in the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. Among the men were the brokers Harvey Fisk and Alfrederick Hatch; William Aspinwall, founder of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company; and A.A. Low, clipper ship designer and builder. During the reorganization meeting of the stockholders held on 26 November 1869, Huntington was elected President of the company and General William C. Wickham, Vice-President.

Tradition has it that Huntington had first visited the sleepy village of Newport News in 1837 when he was a traveling salesman. As early as 1870, agents began to quietly purchase land between Richmond and Newport News. They negotiated with local residents or bought auctioned land in James City, York, Warwick, and Elizabeth City Counties. Among those involved with the land purchases were William Aspinwall, his agent Edmund Wilkes, and his attorney William S. Peachy, Sr. Other major purchasers were Alexander B. Green and Collis P. Huntington. In 1872, the decision was made to locate the Atlantic terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in Newport News. Eight years later on 19 October 1880, the Old Dominion Land Company was chartered to secure railway right-of-ways on the Peninsula.

Company officials were: Collis P. Huntington, President; Frank S. Storrs, Secretary; Isaac E. Gates, Treasurer; Theodore Livezey, Superintendent; C.B. Orcutt, Agent; Collis P. Huntington, Abiel A. Low, A.S. Hatch, James H. Storrs, and John Stewart, Directors. Harvey Fisk was also a member of the Land Company.

In 1881, Huntington and the land agents turned over their purchases to the Land Company for $1.00 per parcel. By June of that year, the Land Company had acquired approximately 17,000 acres of land on the Peninsula.

Railroad construction on the Peninsula began in 1880, and the first trains traversed the completed tracks on 16 October 1881, during the centennial celebration of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. That same year Eugene E. McLean of New York City made the map that determined the eventual layout of the city. Dated 29 April 1881, the map was placed in the records of the Warwick Company Courthouse and lost some time later. McLean was Chief Engineer of the Land Company for many years.

In 1882, the Land Company began work on the Hotel Warwick which was formally opened on 11 April 1882. Destined to play an important part in the development of the city, the hotel was a popular refuge for travelers to the area for decades thereafter. Located on the banks of the James River close to the hotel were a casino, bowling alley, and pleasure pier which provided a great deal of entertainment to both residents and visitors. Until the mid-1930's, the Hotel Warwick's affairs were directed by many of the same officials who were in charge of the Old Dominion Land Company. On 12 November 1935, the Land Company and the hotel were consolidated.

Fulfilling its purpose of developing and selling real estate in Newport News and other areas of the Peninsula, the Land Company distributed a circular to attract new residents and industries in 1883. It had already begun to establish a number of community facilities and by the early 1890's had given land for and/or assisted with the creation of a Union Chapel, Newport News' first bank (the Bank of Newport News, later called the First National Bank of Newport News), the Warwick County Courthouse, schools, and other vital commercial, civic, and government units. Later land donations included the site for Riverside Hospital, the public library and Huntington Park. Either by direct contract or through the influence of the Old Dominion Land Company, a number of piers were constructed near the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. In 1883, several passenger piers were built for ferry and steamship companies serving Newport News. Pier "A," at the foot of 25th Street, was designed as a landing place for building supplies and other material and produce for local grocers and businessmen.

In 1886, a shipyard was established as a repair plant for vessels calling at the port. Later to be named the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, it was built on land owned by the Old Dominion Land Company and directed by some of the Land Company officials including Huntington, Gates, and Orcutt. Land Company officials recognized that a sufficient supply of fresh water was essential to the development of a city. In the late 1880's, they were the moving forces in organizing the Newport News Light and Water Company which remained closely associated with the Land Company from its inception on 8 August 1889, until it was purchased by the city of Newport News in 1926. In 1918, the Light and Water Company entered into an agreement with the United State Government to develop facilities to meet the needs of the expanding population.

Land Company officials were intimately involved in the incorporation of the city. Correspondence in the officers' files reflect a real concern for the proper timing of incorporation so that it would best benefit the company. On 16 January 1896, Newport News became a first-class city and withdrew from Warwick County.

In 1900, Collis P. Huntington died unexpectedly. His interests were passed to his widow Arabella Huntington, his adopted daughter Princess Clara von Hatzvelt, his adopted son Archer M. Huntington, and his nephew Henry E. Huntington, who later married Arabella. Henry Huntington continued his uncle's association with the Land Company. During the second half of the 1910's, the United States Government entered into a number of leases and purchase agreements with the Land Company. Newport News was a major point of embarkation during World War I, and thousands of soldiers were stationed at Camps Hill, Stuart, and Alexander- all built on land owned by the Old Dominion Land Company. After the war, most of these lands were put to other, more peaceable uses.

In 1918, the Land Company established Jefferson Avenue Park, a housing development for black residents. During the 1920's, the Land Company embarked on a major program of residential building- the Huntington Heights subdivision- and also engaged in certifying several other subdivisions including Park View. On 21 October 1925, a group of Newport News men purchased the entire Huntington interests as well as those other stockholders. Throughout the decade of the twenties, there appeared to be a thrust within the company as well as the community to improve the quality of living in the area.

In 1932, nearly all of the income-producing properties had been sold, and Land Company officials were finding new markets for unimproved property. By 1939 the company was liquidated, and the Hotel Warwick was the only valuable piece of property remaining. During the 1940's, the predominance of transactions carried out by the Land Company concerned the Hotel Warwick. Liquidation was completed in 1948.

[History copied from A Finding Aid to the records of the Old Dominion Land Company/Newport News Public Library System, Z1346 .N55 F49]

Scope and Content

Records, 1828-1949, of the Old Dominion Land Company of Newport News, Virginia, relating to the development of property in Elizabeth City, James City, Warwick, and York Counties, and especially Newport News, Virginia. The Company was responsible for the layout of Newport News and established various civic, commercial, and government units. The Library of Virginia and Newport News Public Library entered into a partnership to film select records of the Old Dominion Land Company that are housed at the Newport News Public Library System. The collection was not filmed in its entirety, only select sections of the collection were filmed and are noted in the following finding aid. A copy of the entire original finding aid produced by Newport News Public Library is available: A Finding Aid to the records of the Old Dominion Land Company/Newport News Public Library System [Z1346 .N55 F49]. Also available is, The Map Collection of the Old Dominion Land Company Records/Newport News Public Library System [Z6027 .V81 M29 1982].

The collection was arranged by the Newport News Public Library System and was maintained in the original order established by the Old Dominion Land Company. The records include abstracts, account books, agreements, by-laws, charters, contracts, correspondence, deeds, journals, insurance policies, inventories, lawsuits, ledgers, menu cards, minutes, newspaper clippings, photographs, reports, stock certificates, and tax records. The papers range from 1828 to 1949 although the bulk of collection consists of the administrative files dating from 1900 to 1930, and the abstracts and deeds dating from 1870 to 1890. Also included are the records of the Hotel Warwick, Newport News Light and Water Company, Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company, and the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.

Of particular interest is the documentation of land acquisitions on the Virginia Peninsula. A special enterprise of the Old Dominion Land Company was the Newport News Light and Water Company under whose auspices the Land Company acquired a great deal of watershed property throughout the Peninsula and set up the nucleus of the present day water works owned by the city of Newport News. The abstracts and deeds are also of note because of the invaluable genealogical information and tracing of land holdings.

The collection includes numerous financial reports, journals, and ledgers. Also included are records relating to the Hotel Warwick including correspondence, inventories, insurance, and financial records. Of note is Series X which includes photographs of the interior and exterior of the hotel. The Newport News Light & Water Company records include correspondence, financial records, and copies of lawsuits in which the company was involved.

Although the collection contains a wealth of information there are some areas in which the records are lacking. The collection does not contain administrative files and minute books from the inception of the company nor included are correspondence from Collis P. or Henry E. Huntington. Few records also exist for the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company.

A folder listing is available at the beginning of each reel of microfilm.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series:

Series I. Administrative Records in numerical order, 1903-1948 Series II. Administrative Records in alphabetical order, 1893-1948 Series III. Loose Administrative Records, 1871-1947 Series IV. Financial Records, 1881-1949 Series V. Personnel Records, 1926-1947 [not filmed] Series VI. Real Estate, 1854-1948 Series VII. Maps, 1782-1945 Series VIII. Hotel Warwick Records, 1890-1948 Series IX. Newport News Light and Water Company, 1889-1934 Series X. Miscellaneous Material, 1895-1940

Contents List

Series I. Administrative Records in numerical order, 1903-1948.
Extent: 15 reels (Misc. reels 5883-5897)
  • Suberies 1. Stockholders' Meetings
    • Reel Misc. reel 5883
      Annual Stockholders Meeting Minutes, 1925-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5884
      Annual Stockholders Meeting Minutes, 1939-1948.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5884
      Annual Reports, 1925-1932.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5884
      Stockholders File, W.T. Chapin, 1926-1927.
  • Suberies 2. Directors' Meetings
    • Reel Misc. reel 5885-5886
      Director's Meeting Minutes, 1925-1947.
  • Suberies 3. By-Laws
    • Reel Misc. reel 5886
      By-laws, Charters, and Amendments, 1911-1935.
  • Suberies 4. Financial reports
    • Reel Misc. reel 5887
      Monthly reports, 1926-1936.
  • Suberies 5. Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company Records
    • Reel Misc. reel 5888
      Newport News and vicinity, 1909-1940.
  • Suberies 6. Farms
    • Reel Misc. reel 5889
      Aberdeen-McLean Tract, 1903-1936.

      Includes agreements, clippings, deeds, and correspondence regarding the purchase of land.

    • Reel Misc. reel 5890
      Oakland Farm-West Farm and Briarfield Tract, 1903-1936.

      Includes agreements, clippings, deeds, and correspondence regarding the purchase of land.

  • Suberies 7. Federal reports
    • Reel Misc. reel 5890
      Corporation Income and Excess Profits Tax, 1909-1911.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5891
      Corporation Income and Excess Profits Tax, 1912-1917.
  • Suberies 8. Copies of deeds and deeds of trust
    • Reel Misc. reel 5892
      A-H 1925-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5893
      H-M 1925-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5894
      M-S, 1925-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5895
      T-W 1925-1947.
  • Suberies 9. Yorktown Sesquicentennial
    • Reel Misc. reel 5895
      Correspondence, 1931.
  • Suberies 10. Chamberlin Vanderbilt Hotel
    • Reel Misc. reel 5895
      Correspondence, 1930-1935.
  • Suberies 11. Horace E. Dodge Boat & Plane Corp.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5895
      Correspondence, 1929.
  • Suberies 12. James River Bridge
    • Reel Misc. reel 5895
      Correspondence, 1929-1946.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5896
      Sites at entrance of James River Bridge, 1928-1933.
  • Suberies 13. Real estate
    • Reel Misc. reel 5896
      Quotations, 1917-1936.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5896
      Real estate agents, 1926-1927.
  • Suberies 14. Miscellaneous letters
    • Reel Misc. reel 5896
      A-M, 1926-1934.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5897
      N-Y, 1926-1934.
  • Suberies 15. Industrial development
    • Reel Misc. reel 5897
      Correspondence, 1925-1936.
  • Suberies 16. Warwick Laundry
    • Reel Misc. reel 5897
      Correspondence, 1925-1945.
Series II. Administrative Records in alphabetical order, 1893-1948.
Extent: 7 reels (Misc. reels 5898-5904)
  • Suberies 1. Alphabetical files
    • Reel Misc. reel 5898
      File 1, A-L, 1920-1927.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5899
      File 1, M-Y and File 2 A-K, 1920-1939.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5900
      File 2 L-Y and File 3 B-D, 1926-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5901
      File 3 D-N, 1936-1948.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5902
      File 3 P-W (including Hotel Warwick), 1922-1948.
  • Suberies 2. Subject files
    • Reel Misc. reel 5903
      Auction sale-Insurance agents, 1937-1942.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5904
      C.E. Minniegerode-Myraw Wood and miscellaneous subjects, 1893-1948.
Series III. Loose administrative records, 1916-1939.
Extent: 1 reel (Misc. reel 5905)
  • Reel Misc. reel 5905
    Board of Directors Minute Books, 1916-1921; 1928; 1928-1939.
Series IV. Financial records, 1881-1948.
Extent: 5 reels (Misc. reels 5906-5910)
  • Suberies 1. General Accounts
    • Reel Misc. reel 5906
      Journal No. 1, 1881-1887.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5906
      Journal No. 6, 1917-1921.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5907
      Journal No. 8, 1924-1926.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5907
      Journal No. 9, 1926-1936.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5908
      Journal, 1936-1948.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5908
      Ledger No. 1, 1881-1889.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5909
      Ledger No. 5, 1913-1925.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5909
      Ledger No. 6, 1926-1935.
  • Suberies 2. Stockholders and investments
    • Reel Misc. reel 5910
      Correspondence, 1914-1942.
Series V. Personnel records, 1926-1947.

No records from this Series were filmed.

Series VI. Real estate, 1828-1948.
Extent: 13 reels (Misc. reels 5911-5923)
  • Reel Misc. reel 5911
    Early land agent correspondence and transactions, 1870-1884.

    Includes correspondence of William Aspinwall, A.B. Green, and correspondence dealing with land purchased on the Virginia Peninsula.

  • Reel Misc. reel 5912
    Abstracts of titles.

    Tracts include: Burkes, Melson farm, Rich Neck, Log Landing, Charles Jones, Briarhurst, Cooke and Gibbs, Taylor Farm, Ivy, Washington Lodge, Stony Point Farm, and Queen's Creek.

  • Reel Misc. reel 5913
    Abstracts of titles.

    Tracts include: William Lee Farm, McLean, Burk Farm, Downey Farm, Brooks or Lee, Wynne property, Skinner, Log quarter, Weymouth, Bailey's, Merry Oaks, Wilbern Farm, W.J. Hawkins, Mount Airy, D.S. Jones, and Lots 27-28, 33-36, and 193.

  • Reel Misc. reel 5914
    Deeds, 1828-1869.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5915
    Deeds, 1870-1879.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5916
    Deeds, 1880-1881.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5917
    Deeds, 1882-1895.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5918
    Deeds, 1896-1910.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5919
    Deeds, 1911-1925.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5920
    Deeds, 1926-1948.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5921
    Leases, agreements, and related correspondence, 1892-1948.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5922
    Articles of agreements, contracts, and related papers, 1877-1947.
  • Reel Misc. reel 5923
    Contracts, bids, and correspondence dealing with Huntington Heights, 1925-1938.
Series VII. Maps, 1782-1945.
Extent: 2 reels (Misc. reels 891-892, Accession 31552)

Maps in this collection were those used by the Old Dominion Land Company in its devleopment of Newport News, the surrounding counties of Elizabeth City, James City, Warwick, and York, and areas of the neighboring city of Hampton. The diverse contents range from municipal plans and land surveys to architectural and civil engineering plans.

Series VIII. Hotel Warwick Records, 1890-1948.
Extent: 14 reels (Misc. reels 5924-5937)
  • Suberies 1. Numerical Administrative records
    • Reel Misc. reel 5924
      Records, 1928-1948.
  • Suberies 2. Miscellaneous Administrative records
    • Reel Misc. reel 5925
      Records, 1927.
  • Suberies 3. Correspondence
    • Reel Misc. reel 5925
      Correspondence, 1926-1947.
  • Suberies 4. Contracts
    • Reel Misc. reel 5926
      Contracts, 1900-1942.
  • Suberies 5. Insurance
    • Reel Misc. reel 5926
      Insurance, 1927-1941.
  • Suberies 6. Personnel
    • Reel Misc. reel 5926
      Personnel and pay roll account, 1937-1947.
  • Suberies 7. Finance
    • Reel Misc. reel 5927
      Account book, 1928-1943.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5928
      Account book, 1928-1943.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5929
      Journal No. 2, 1938-1943.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5929
      Journal No. 3, 1943-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5929
      Fund Book No. 3, 1945-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5929
      Voucher Record Book No. 9, 1946-1947.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5930
      Balance sheets, 1927-1930.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5930
      Comparative Statement of Expenses, 1931-1932.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5930
      Inventories, 1941-1943.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5931
      Financial statements, 1931-1933.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5932
      Financial statements, 1933-1935.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5933
      Financial statements, 1936-1939.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5934
      Financial statements, 1940-1941.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5935
      Daily reports, 1936-1939.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5936
      Transcript of Guest Ledger, 1940-1941.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Daily Steward Report to Manager, 1933-1934.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Miscellaneous financial papers, 1890-1948.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Miscellaneous, Sample menu cards, 1946-1948.
Series IX. Newport News Light & Water Company Records, 1889-1934.
Extent: 3 reels (Misc. reels 5937-5939)
  • Suberies 1. Administrative records
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Records, 1889-1913.

      Includes bills to legislature, charters, and index to Minute book No. 1.

    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Officers' correspondence, 1894-1916.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Cremation, sale of company coupons and certificates, 1917-1934.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Motor Vehicle titles, 1920-1924.
  • Suberies 2. Correspondence
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Enlargement of water facilities, 1918.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Water supply to Camp Stuart and other places, 1918.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Naval Mine Depot, 1920-1925.
  • Suberies 3. Finance
    • Reel Misc. reel 5937
      Financial statements and inventories, 1902-1903.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5938
      Inventories and real estate assessments, 1904-1926.
  • Suberies 4. Legal matters
    • Reel Misc. reel 5938
      Newport News Light & Water Company vs. W.I. Nelms, 1892.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5938
      Newport News Light & Water Company vs. Commonwealth of Virginia, 1905-1906.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5938
      Commonwealth of Virginia at the relation of the Newport News Light & Water Company vs. City of Newport News and others, 1920-1924.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5938
      Newport News Light & Water Company tax protests, 1926-1929.
  • Suberies 5. Property
    • Reel Misc. reel 5938
      Rentals, 1892-1897.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5939
      Proposal to build reservoir, 1906.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5939
      Report on standing timber and land, 1913.
  • Suberies 6. Miscellaneous
    • Reel Misc. reel 5939
      Minute Book No. 1, 1889-1913.
    • Reel Misc. reel 5939
      Meter book and list of water pipes in Hampton, ca. 1900.
Series X. Miscellaneous Material, ca. 1916-1950.
Extent: 1 reel (Misc. reel 5940)

Consists of approximately 40 photographs of the Hotel Warwick and Hilton Village in Newport News, Virginia. The photographs have been digitized and are available online. Click here and select "Newport News Public Library Photograph Collection" from the alphabetical list of digital collections in order to search and view the documents online

  • Reel Misc. reel 5940
    Photographs, ca. 1916-1950.

    Includes images of the Hotel Warwick, Newport News waterfront and buildings, Camp Hill, and Petersburg development.