Manhattan Of The South: Virginia Beach And The New Southern City, 1953-1963
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DepartmentHistory and Geography
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This thesis discusses the tremendous political, economic, and social changes that occurred in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia in the 1950s and early 1960s. The city of Norfolk seemed primed to take off as a major city in the area and the actions of the city were focused on this outcome. By 1963, however the conditions had changed to allow Virginia Beach and not Norfolk to become the main city in the area and allow it to become a major city in the United States. This thesis follows the trends that made this happen, from the local politics to the larger trends that were changing American Urbanism. American cities developed in post-war America city formed differently than the classic cities that came to maturity in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. Instead the new cities were spread out, were heavily defined by the automobile, and growing faster than their older counterparts. This thesis follows the paths of two cities that indicated this divergence. Norfolk adopted the older city model and ceased growing, while Virginia Beach followed the newer model. The key event in all of this was the merger of Virginia Beach with the surrounding Princess Anne County that was the turning point in the Hampton Roads area.