Ever wondered how Virginia Beach grew?
In 1880, Colonel Marshall Parks, a Norfolk land developer, established the Seaside Hotel and Land Company and began purchasing land from local farmers with oceanfront property. By 1882, he owned more than five miles of the Atlantic coastline in Virginia Beach. Envisioning a “seaside health and pleasure resort”, Parks established a railroad company to connect visitors to the beach.
The railroad transported thousands to the new resort. Between July & September of 1883, 6,565 people visited to dance, picnic and enjoy seaside pleasures. Parks built the Virginia Beach Hotel. While Parks’ companies failed, the resort flourished. Other real estate developers including Charles W. Mackey who purchased the hotel from Parks for $170,000 in 1888 continued to expand the resort town into a legendary vacation spot.
Learn more about Virginia Beach's history by visiting the Library's Digital Archives