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A Short Virtual Tour of West Ghent

West Ghent is a neighborhood defined by the people, their homes, and the public and privately owned venues where the residents come together.  The best way to appreciate West Ghent is to simply walk the beautiful tree lined streets and take in one of the many parks or green spaces where the residents routinely gather, often with their children, visiting friends and family, or their beloved pets.  Rain or shine, chances are you'll be able to strike up a conversation and learn first hand why so many people choose to call West Ghent their home. 

While it is the people who make this neighborhood such a great place to live, West Ghent does have a number of public and private facilities that also define the character of the neighborhood.  A few of them include:

W.H. Taylor Elementary School

Students in grades K-5 living in the neighborhood who are in  public school attend W.H. Taylor Elementary School, located in the heart of West Ghent.  The Taylor name honors the memory of Colonel Walter Herron Taylor. He was Robert E. Lee's Assistant Adjutant General and the only Norfolk born member.

Taylor Elementary has grown from a small, rural school to a bustling urban neighborhood school. Built in 1917 on the former Cromwell Farm, it soon became the focal point in the community. Liberty Bond drives were conducted from the school during World War I. The flu epidemic saw Taylor as a temporary public hospital to handle the overflow from local hospitals. Air raid practices were common during World War II. The 1960's saw the school function as a fallout shelter for the Civil Defense Agency. In 1999 a new Taylor School was completed to replace our aging, beloved Taylor.  Blair Middle School and Maury High School, about two miles away in the Ghent neighborhood serve the educational needs of West Ghent's older children.

Weyanoke Wildlife Sanctuary

(Photo by Nancy Milner)
The Weyanoke Wildlife Sanctuary (1501 Armistead Bridge Rd.) was created in 1979 by the Norfolk and Western Railway's gift of seven acres of land to the Cape Henry Audubon Society. Weyanoke's mission is to protect the forest, meadows, marshlands, and creek, and to preserve the native plants within its boundaries -- thereby creating an environment where wildlife will flourish and people can experience and be nourished by the natural world. Hours: Saturdays, Sundays, and by appointment for groups. Contact: 757-628-1067.

Yellow Fever Park

In June of 1855, the U.S.S. Benjamin Franklin, docked in the port of Norfolk. The ship brought along mosquitoes from St. Thomas in the West Indies carrying Yellow Fever. A Norfolk crewman died of the disease in July, and by August hundreds of people were fleeing the city. Neighboring communities began imposing quarantines against Norfolk residents fearing the spread of the fever to their communities. At the peak of the epidemic, 100 people were dying a day within the City of Norfolk. It is estimated that over 2,000 people died during 1855. Norfolk did not regain its 1850 population level again until after the Civil War.

Memorial to the Victims
This ground is an actual burial site for some of the victims.  The park is the result of the efforts of many volunteers led by the local Girl Scout Troop and their leader Mrs. Brenda Scanelli who still resides in the neighborhood.  Through their efforts, city government, private businesses, and local citizens combined to make this ground a fitting final resting place for those who lost their lives during this epidemic.

More Highlights


Plum Point Park
Adopted by the WGCL this beautiful park overlooks the Elizabeth River and includes a carefully restored wetlands project adjacent to the park.


Plum Point Wetlands


Elizabeth River Trail
Beginning near Harbor Park in Downtown Norfolk, the trail now runs through West Ghent along the southwest boundary of the neighborhood turning north and connecting with the Lamberts Point neighborhood and on to Old Dominion University.  Eventually the trail will allow for pedestrian and bicycle access around the  perimeter of the City of Norfolk and connecting to the City of Virginia Beach.


Jeff Robertson Park
Used for many activities including soccer, Little League Baseball, Flag Football, Ultimate Frisbee, jogging and biking.  Jeff Robertson is also home to dog lovers in the neighborhood who congregate here with their owners for fun and fellowship.


Fergus Reid Tennis Park
Recently renovated by the City of Norfolk, this facility includes both clay and hard courts.


Graydon Park

This open space is also where the community comes together during the holiday season for the lighting of the tree and singing of traditional holiday carols.


Mallory Pool and Country Club
A popular gathering place for many residents and their guests.  The "Mallory" has a competitive swimming program for youths as well as and men's and women's recreational volleyball leagues during the busy summer season.


West Ghent School
Preschool - 1st Grade is co-located with St. Andrews Episcopal Church.


The Little Theater
Tucked away in West Ghent, Little Theatre of Norfolk may be one of the oldest continually active theaters in the country, as well as the 'grande dame of local performing arts.' The theatre was born out of a 1927 Wilcox High drama class.


Greenway Park
Site of our newest park which will include modern playground equipment for small children.


Norfolk Southern - Lamberts Point
Norfolk Southern, our community friendly neighbor to the north, operates one of the most modern and efficient break-bulk cargo and coal trans-shipment facilities in the U.S.  The history of Norfolk Southern Rail Road goes as far back as the history of the Ghent / West Ghent neighborhoods. 

(Note:  Norfolk Southern Corporation is not affiliated with the WGCL nor do they endorse the views or opinions expressed in the content of this website.)

 

Boy Scout Troop #1, the oldest Boy Scout Troop in the state of Virginia, was founded on September 11th 1911. The Scout movement in America was so new (the Boy Scouts of America were officially organized on 8 February, 1910), the acting scoutmaster at that time, Reverend Charles M. Watson, minister of First Christian Church (Disciples) in Norfolk, had difficulties obtaining a Scout handbook for the Troop.  He eventually wrote a letter to Sir Baden-Powell in England to request a scout book.  The book (entitled “Scouting for Boys”) and a personal letter from Baden-Powel arrived that summer.  During the Troop's first camping trip this book was used to teach scouting to the first twelve scouts of Troop One.

Medical Facilities

Bordering West Ghent to the east are four major medical facilities which provide a wide array of health care services to people throughout the region.

Sentara Heart Hospital the region's first and only dedicated heart hospital, is unlike any facility within hundreds of miles. It unites a long-standing team of cardiac super-specialists within an advanced setting built from the ground up for superior cardiac care. Here, patients receive comprehensive cardiac services - - from diagnostics to open heart surgery and transplants -- at one location. Sentara Heart Hospital has all-private rooms, including 112 inpatient beds and 45 pre/post procedural rooms for patients undergoing interventional cardiac procedures.


Eastern Virginia Medical School holds an honored position in American history as the only school of medicine founded by a grassroots effort of the local community. Today, 2,300 physicians hold degrees from EVMS, including 500 who practice in Hampton Roads and 300 who practice in other regions of Virginia. In addition, the school has a growing health professions program, with programs in biomedical sciences, public health, and other specialties.


Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, a 569-bed tertiary care facility, is home to the area’s only Level I Trauma Center and burn trauma unit. For nine straight years, the National Research Corporation has named Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Hampton Roads Consumer’s Choice award winner. Heart and Heart Surgery services at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital are listed among the top 50 cardiac programs in the nation in this year's edition of U.S. News & World Report magazine.


CHKD - In 1896, the Norfolk City Union of The King's Daughters was formed to provide health care for indigent mothers and their children. In 1961, The King's Daughters established Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters exclusively for children. Today the hospital is a comprehensive health care center, still carrying on the tradition of the founding King's Daughters to treat all children who need the special care available only at CHKD.

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© 2017 West Ghent Civic League
 

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Chris Burgess
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Brian Casey
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