As Old As America Itself.
Just three years after settling in Jamestown, VA, early colonists returned to found another settlement known as Hampton, which is the oldest continuous English-speaking settlement in the United States.
Following prominent involvement in the Civil War, by 1871 the government broke up the area. Building lots were sold, and streets were named after prominent citizens – Mallory, Curry, Hope, Mellen. The village quickly grew to town status and changed its name from Mill Creek to Chesapeake City.
The railroad station and the first post office in the community were both named Phoebus in honor of Harrison Phoebus, the prominent owner of the Hygeia, a luxurious 1,000-room resort hotel – a forerunner of today’s venerable Chamberlin Hotel, located on Fort Monroe.
In 1900, the town incorporated and took the name of Phoebus. Its corporate seal displays a sun rising over ocean waves. Many believe the sun symbol was chosen because Phoebus is the Greek word for Apollo, the sun god.
During World War I and again during World War II, thousands of troops passed through Phoebus to the port of embarkation at Fort Monroe. In the roaring twenties, there was reportedly a saloon on every corner. Phoebus became a popular liberty spot during World War II, and the hotels, saloons, restaurants and businesses all flourished. In 1952, the town was consolidated into the city of Hampton but has never lost its strong sense of identity and pride.
Today, a vital Phoebus stands at the crossroads of the proud institutions that helped forge the community: Fort Monroe, Hampton University, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Rich and diverse historical influences have played a crucial part in shaping Phoebus during its 400 year history – a unique, colorful crossroads community that thrives today.
A National Historic District.
The Phoebus National Historic District encompasses an 86-acre section of the community and includes the historic business area on Mellen and Mallory Streets and a significant number of homes. The district was added to the Commonwealth’s Landmarks Register by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources on September 6, 2006.
On December 1, 2006 the National Park Service added the Phoebus Historic District to its National Register of Historic Places. Of the 426 buildings included in the district, 60 percent are now eligible for a combination of federal and state tax credits of up to 45 percent for qualified preservation or rehabilitation.
In Virginia, among the more than 2,400 properties already listed on the National Register of Historic Places include Fort Monroe, Fort Wool, and the Reuben Clark house in Phoebus.