The Colony, including the area which was to be Virginia Beach, was divided into the original eight shires of Virginia, in sixteen hundred and thirty four. They were soon renamed as counties. One County was named “New Norfolk County” in sixteen hundred and thirty seven. The following year, New Norfolk County was split into Upper Norfolk County, which was soon renamed Nansemond County and Lower Norfolk County.
In sixteen hundred and ninety one, Lower Norfolk County was divided to from Norfolk County and Princess Anne County. The small resort area of Virginia Beach grew in Princess Anne County, beginning in the late nineteenth century, particularly after the arrival of rail service and electricity and the opening of the original Princess Anne Hotel at the oceanfront near the tiny community of Seatack, in eighteen hundred and eighty eight. In eighteen hundred and ninety one, guests at the new hotel watched the wreck and rescue efforts of the United States Life Saving Service for the Norwegian bark “Dictator”. The ship’s figurehead, which washed up on the beach several days later, was erected as a modest monument to the victims and rescuers along the oceanfront for more than fifty years and later became the inspiration for the current matching Norwegian Lady Monuments in Virginia Beach and Moss, Norway sculpted by Ornulf Bast.
The completion of Virginia Beach Boulevard in nineteen hundred and twenty two, which extended from Norfolk to the oceanfront, opened the way for automobiles, buses, trucks and passenger rail service to the resort which was initially dependent on railroad and electric trolley service. The growing resort of Virginia Beach became an incorporated town in nineteen hundred and six. Over the next forty five years, Virginia Beach continued to grow in popularity as a seasonal vacation spot and casinos gave way to amusement parks and family oriented attractions. In nineteen hundred and twenty seven, the Cavalier Hotel opened and became a popular vacation spot. In nineteen hundred and fifty two, Virginia Beach became politically independent of Princess Anne County as an independent city. In nineteen hundred and sixty three, after a referendum City of Virginia Beach and Princess Anne County were consolidated. The new, much larger independent city retained the better known name of the Virginia Beach resort.
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