State historical highway marker to be dedicated at Fort Story

(WAVY/Joel Hilton)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A state historical highway marker that highlights railroad lines constructed between 1880 and World War I to service Cape Henry will be dedicated this weekend.

The marker will stand at the southern edge of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and is located in the northern part of Virginia Beach.

A dedication and unveiling ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, where the sign stands next to the Cape Henry Lighthouse on the grounds of Joint Expeditionary Base-Fort Story.

The Chesapeake Transit Company established an electric rail line in 1902, running between Norfolk and Cape Henry. This allowed for the development of a resort village, according to the marker. In 1904, a brick passenger depot opened on Cape Henry and during that same year, the railroad line merged with the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.

In 1914, the U.S. Army established Fort Story and laid new track for the railroad, which the Army used during World War II “to transport artillery and ammunition for the coastal defense system,” the marker reads.

“Commercial and passenger service to Cape Henry ended in 1947,” the highway marker concludes.

The “Cape Henry Railroads” marker was approved for manufacture and installation earlier this year by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, which is authorized to designate new historical markers.

The sign’s sponsor — the Virginia Beach Historic Preservation Commission — covered the marker’s manufacturing costs.

The marker’s text reads in full:

Cape Henry Railroads

The first railroad to Cape Henry was a temporary tramway built in 1880 to transport materials for the construction of the new Cape Henry Lighthouse. In 1902 the Chesapeake Transit Company opened an electric rail line from Norfolk to the cape, allowing a resort village to develop. A brick passenger depot, 250 yards northwest of here, opened in 1904. Later that year, the line merged with the Norfolk and Southern Railroad. The U.S. Army established Fort Story here in 1914 and laid new track. During World War II the army used these tracks to transport artillery and ammunition for the coastal defense system. Commercial and passenger service to Cape Henry ended in 1947.

 

The dedication ceremony is open to the public. To attend, you will need to pass through the Fort Story security gates, located at 89th Street and Atlantic Avenue. Entry to the military base requires photo ID, and proof of vehicle insurance and current registration.