Seawall at Crawford's Bay
No walk through Olde Towne is complete without a stroll down the seawall at Crawford’s Bay, a calm corner of the Elizabeth River!
Col. Crawford was granted 890 acres of land in 1716 and in 1752 he set aside 65 acres of it to create a town called “Portsmouth” – this original acreage is now called Olde Towne. He hired a surveyor to grid the town into squares with his self-named bay as the north border, the river as its eastern border, Gosport Creek as the southern border, and Dinwiddie St as the west border.
This portion of the wall was built in the early 1900s to control tidal flooding and develop tidal land. (Side note, those of us residents in homes built on the previous tidal marsh only have to dig down a few inches to hit old oyster shells!) Before the wall was built, there was a beach for sunbathers and swimmers (hence Swimming Point) and a walking bridge over the marsh to the street.
If you stroll down Court Street, you’ll notice a house with an elaborate side balcony – it used to be overlooking the beach front, but is now a far distance from the water.
I vote this as the best view of the Downtown Norfolk skyline – be sure to check it out after dark when the city lights reflect off Crawford’s Bay.