January 3, 2024

Seatack Historic District Achieves Listing in Virginia Landmarks Register

The Seatack community in Virginia Beach is now listed as a historic district in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The Virginia Board of Historic Resources voted to accept the nomination at its Dec. 14 meeting.

Located along Birdneck Road, west of the Oceanfront, Seatack is a historically African American community that developed over time beginning in the late 19th century. The community established its own school and fire department when none was provided for them.

The historic district consists mainly of single-family, modest vernacular dwellings. It includes other popular residential styles including Minimal Traditional, Craftsman, Ranch and Colonial Revival. Also included are one example of Tudor Revival and a religious building in the Colonial Revival style. One contributing commercial-style building associated with automobile architecture remains along Birdneck Road, which used to be named Seatack Road.

The former Seatack Elementary School building, now the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training academy, is a cornerstone of the district and was built in 1952 as the first consolidated elementary school for African American students in what was then Princess Anne County. The school consolidated the existing African American schools in Seatack, Oceana, Great Neck, and Lynnhaven and was the first of three consolidated African American elementary schools in the county. The Seatack area was selected because it was the central point of a large African American population and “where the need was greatest.”

A large part of the early Seatack community can be traced back to the Williams family. Georgie Anne Williams and William Newton Williams Sr. owned about 100 acres along what is now Birdneck Road. They farmed the land and raised horses. Georgie Williams was a former enslaved person and served as a midwife in the community of mostly freed people. Over time, the Williams family divided the property and various generations helped develop the Seatack of today. The Morgan family was also important in the development of Seatack. A portion of America and Enoch Morgan’s farm was provided for the site of the consolidated Seatack Elementary School.

The nomination was produced with assistance from the Underrepresented Communities grant program, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. The grant program focuses on documenting the homes, lives, landscapes, and experiences of underrepresented peoples who played a significant role in our national history. Additional funding was provided by the City of Virginia Beach through the Historic Preservation Commission. The nomination will next be forwarded to the National Park Service for consideration for listing the Seatack Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places. Listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register is honorary and does not impose restrictions or provide protection for properties located in historic districts.

Seatack Historic District Achieves Listing in Virginia Landmarks Register

Seatack is a historically African American community that has just been listed as a Historic District in the Virginia Landmarks Register.

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Jina Gaines Templeton

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