ODU to launch project Mapping Lambert’s Point

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University on Tuesday is launching a new digital mapping project of historic Lambert’s Point.

ODU said in a news release that a dozen students with the Institute for the Humanities and the Department of Political Science and Geography collected oral and written histories of Lambert’s Point residents for the project, which is entitled “Mapping Lambert’s Point.”

One of the oldest neighborhoods in Norfolk, Lambert’s Point was once a large area just north of downtown.

It was among the first areas where African Americans could purchase homes. The neighborhood also included Tidewater Hospital, where blacks were guaranteed treatment.

Now much smaller in size, it’s surrounded by Norfolk Southern, the Elizabeth River and Old Dominion University.

“It’s a community that I think often gets talked about but doesn’t often have an opportunity to tell its own stories,” Avi Santo, the Director of the ODU Institute for Humanities said.

Of the project, Santo said, “It becomes a way that the history of this community lives on and can be passed on to future generations, can be passed on to future ODU students, to current ODU students, even if the actual places that were of such significance to the people who lived here aren’t there anymore.”

The project reveals many things, like the fact that the site of the Lambert’s Point Community Center was once a wood yard.

It maps locations of former black-owned business, schools and even details the history of one of the oldest churches in the neighborhood.

“I think it’s one step towards what I hope will eventually become a historical document,” said Reverend Anthony Paige of First Baptist Church of Lambert’s Point.

Preservation is not only happening online through the mapping project.

Rev. Paige showed 10 On Your Side the church’s old sanctuary and basement, where he’s working to restore the old structure. He said capturing the Lambert’s Point history is something he’s personally wanted to do for years. So, he’s happy to see it done.

“People die. Things change. People forget. So I think it’s important to capture it now,” he said.

The project launch will be held on Tuesday from 5:00 to  6:15 p.m. at the Lambert’s Point Community Center. Click here for more information.

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