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The Freemason District contains some of the major historical sites in Norfolk. Part of the original plot of land given to Captain Thomas Willoughby in 1636, the streets are cobblestone, with brick houses and trees lining the sidewalk. Among the many museums and history centers here are the Moses Myers House, Norfolk History Museum, and Hunter House Victorian Museum.
Nestled in downtown Norfolk, the MacArthur Memorial is a series of four buildings commissioned in the 1960s to commemorate the life of one of America's most awarded military heroes, General Douglas MacArthur. In 1964, General MacArthur was laid to rest in the main building. The memorial also pays tribute to the men and women who served alongside the General during both World Wars and the Korean War. The memorial site is complete with a museum, a visitor center and the MacArthur Memorial Theater. The museum, in particular, lends deep insights into the life and times of the valiant man, with the help of original archives, artifacts, displays, myriad murals, mementos and memorabilia. History is frozen in every nook and cranny of this memorial which the city greatly prides itself upon.
Start off your journey on Norfolk's Civil War Trail at the VisitNorfolk office, where you'll pick up the map that will guide you through Norfolk's Civil War history. This trail passes through many historic sites in the city that played a role in the Civil War. On your self-guided tour you will pass through Fort Norfolk, the Black Civil War Memorial and Freemason District, among other points of historical interest. A perfect and educational outing for a day out in Norfolk.
Cannonball Trail is an extremely popular tourist walk that takes visitors through some of Norfolk's most significant heritage sites. Visitors can experience over 400 years worth of history in this walk. Tours are usually self-guided and participants get to learn a lot about the history and culture of the city while seeing most of its major attractions. Sights include the 1673 Half Moone Fort and the stately St Paul's Church. It's a leisurely, fascinating way to see the best of Norfolk's rich history. Call for more details.
Fort Norfolk is the last of the George Washington authorized harbor-front ports. Set on four acres next to the Elizabeth River, the fort had a significant role in the War of 1812. Sites to be seen include the dungeon, ramparts and barracks, most of which date back to 1810. Located in the historic Ghent area, Fort Norfolk is an interesting and educational outing.
The Hermitage Foundation Museum holds the Sloan art collection that includes pieces collected from across the world. The Chinese tomb figures and pieces from Czar Alexander's collection are particularly striking pieces. The museum also conducts art classes and holds workshops. Surrounded by 12 acres of well planned gardens, the Hermitage Foundation Gardens are a particularly picturesque. The gift shop sells creations of local artisans and designers.
Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse is a stunning lighthouse that dates back to 1792. This archaic structure boasts amazing architecture that makes it a worthwhile tourist attraction. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the spectacular views it affords. There is also an onsite museum store.
The Cape Henry Memorial is a vivid reminder of every individual of the first landfall in Virginia Beach. The colonists of the Jamestown settlement alighted on April 26, 1607 and started to explore the local scene. It was these colonists who named the cape and fixed a cross at the spot. This is a testament to the many battles, a remembrance of the colonists passing by and the spirit of the local community and people.