|Chesopeian Colony on Google Earth|
I became interested in the history of Chesopeian Colony only after reading articles in The Virginian-Pilot stating the neighborhood began in 1957. Since I moved there in 1956, I knew they were wrong, and I felt compelled to set the record straight.
My family was the last of four to buy new houses in the neighborhood in 1956. At that time there were only five new houses completed; although there were four older houses on the peninsula that predated the development. All the roads were in place, but still unpaved, except Chesopeian Trail had been recently paved from the entrance to the north side of my family's lot at #28 Chesopeian Trail (now #408, a.k.a, the bamboo house). Almost all the lots were wooded, and as a child the forest was a great place to play. Marshland had been removed from most of the inlets (with the exception of a few islands), but dredging would continue for many years. The river banks were covered throughout with the spoils of dredging, creating an uneven, gray, and mostly barren landscape along the shoreline. And new homes were under construction continuously, most becoming occupied as soon as completed. In those days many homes were built without central air conditioning with the owners opting for the much less costly window units. Most homes had oil-fired furnaces, perhaps later being replaced by electric heat pumps or natural gas. However, gas would not become available for another decade or so. City water was available, but city sewer was still a few years away. Telephone service was only available via a "party line", and school bus service and postal delivery came no further than the neighborhood entrance on the Boulevard. The mailing address was Lynnhaven, Virginia — there was no zip code. The area code was 703, the local telephone exchange was LOwell5, and to call long distance required talking to an operator. The new Princess Anne High School was in its third year of operation, and the old elementary school at Oceana (formerly high school, grades 1-12) would be open for only three more years.
Today, Chesopeian Colony lies on approximately 150 acres of dry land containing 260 homes on 264 residential lots (including the two vacant lots at the entrance). 155 of those homes have at least fifteen feet of waterfront. The City of Virginia Beach owns the roadways, and now owns nearly all the submerged land (which was not always the case). As used herein I am defining the present day Chesopeian Colony as those residential lots accessible by road upon entering Chesopeian Trail directly from Virginia Beach Blvd. The City now considers, perhaps inappropriately, one additional lot as part of the subdivision; although it is accessible only from the Boulevard. Throughout these writings I may refer to Chesopeian Colony as the neighborhood, the development, or the subdivision — all intended to mean the same thing.
The facts and figures presented herein were derived from public records and online documents that I believe to be correct. I expend an inordinate amount of energy trying to be perfect, but occasionally errors may appear in the reference material, or I may have misinterpreted the data. If you discover an error, please let me know. As stated previously, I started this project to correct a date error in the newspaper. The last thing I want is to propagate more misinformation.
So when did Chesopeian Colony begin? Read on.