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Hampton Roads History

Stories and images from the Daily Press explore 400 years of history in Hampton Roads, the oldest permanent continuous English-speaking region in America.

Archaeologists probing near Williamsburg's reconstructed Capitol have unearthed signs of the ambitious public works campaigns that transformed the town's landscape dramatically in the 1700s. -- Mark St. John Erickson

This eye-opening collection of archival pictures tells the epic story of how the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel was constructed and completed 50 years ago. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Audacious engineering forged the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel 50 years ago. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Video & blog post: Archaeologists probe for the secrets of a colonial landmark at Smithfield's historic Windsor Castle. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Sacked by the British in 1813 and burned twice during the Civil War, hard-luck Hampton was still reeling from a half-century of disasters when yet another calamity struck the once bustling colonial port town on April 9, 1884. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Lt. Hunter Davidson and a tiny Confederate torpedo boat catch the Union fleet sleeping with a daring night attack off Newport News Point. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Twenty-five days after the CSS Virginia inflicted the United States' worst naval defeat before Pearl Harbor, 10 thunderous cannon blasts sounded from Fort Monroe across the far reaches of Hampton Roads. Here's a look back at the mighty "Lincoln Gun" that defended the fort and the water passage to the North. -- Mark St. John Erickson

History's longest-running film was already ahead of its time when it debuted in Williamsburg on March 31, 1957 as part of the Jamestown 350th anniversary celebration. Here's a look back at "The Story of a Patriot." -- Mark St. John Erickson

A rare view of the "Ruins at Hampton" joins more than 200 images from the George Eastman House in a revealing Mariners' Museum exhibit on photography in the Civil War. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Pictures: Yorktown's unlikely saviors may have started small but their triumphant celebration in 1931 was epic. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Pictures: Christened in a milestone double-launching at Newport News in March 1898, the battleships USS Kearsarge and USS Kentucky -- known as "the Twin Terrors" -- were historic, lethal and beautiful. -- Mark St. John Erickson

The March 24, 1898 double launching of the battleships Kearsarge and Kentucky marked a turning point for the struggling Newport News Shipyard. -- Mark St. John Erickson

The Woman Who Saved Yorktown. If not for Emma Leake Chenoweth and the ladies of the Comte de Grasse chapter of the DAR, we might be seeing golfers tee off at Surrender Field. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Hampton Roads has a long and unhappy history of destructive fires reaching back to the 1608 blaze that staggered Jamestown. Here are 13 of the worst. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Railroad tycoon Collis P. Huntington had already made history several times over when -- on March 16, 1892 -- he showed up for his first and only appearance at the launching of a ship constructed by his fledgling Newport News shipyard. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Arthur Shurcliff's landmark gardens helped define Colonial Williamsburg and the Colonial Revival landscape designs that it gave birth to in the 1930s and '40s. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Commissioned 100 years ago today, the Newport News-built USS Texas became a legendary battleship, fighting in two World Wars and surviving today as the world's only remaining dreadnought warship. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Thousands watched the magnificent Hotel Chamberlin go down in flames during a catastrophic 1920 fire. These pictures from the Daily Press and the Hampton History Museum capture the fiery drama of the spectacular Old Point Comfort disaster. -- Mark St. John Erickson

The Great Ash Wednesday Storm battered Hampton Roads with a a ferocity that rivaled the region's worst hurricanes. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Beautiful and fast, the Newport News-built luxury liner Morro Castle ruled the New York to Havana passenger trade until erupting in a deadly fire. -- Mark St. John Erickson

A strange spectacle in Williamsburg marks the end of a disastrous Union cavalry raid on Richmond. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Staggered by the damage inflicted during the 1781 siege, once bustling Yorktown took another disastrous blow in the Great Fire of March 3, 1814. -- Mark St. John Erickson

The Mighty R was a milestone ship for the Navy -- and the beginning of Newport News Shipbuilding's legendary role as the builder of American aircraft carriers. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Pictures: Remembering the fiery death of a pioneering Langley Field airship. -- Mark St. John Erickson

Confederate cavalrymen had every reason to feel confident when they attacked a smaller force of black Union troops at Wilson's Wharf in Charles City on May 24, 1864. Instead, they were mowed down. -- Mark St. John Erickson