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Fairmount Park Today

Fairmount Park is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhoods in the City of Norfolk, and since 2004, we have been undergoing a massive revitalization. The neighborhood is a solid working and middle class neighborhood of tree lined streets with a variety of architectural house styles, including Arts and Craft period bungalows, Victorian farmhouses, European Romantic, American Four Squares, and the Norfolk Coastal cottage.  Fairmount Park is primarily a residential neighborhood with commercial businesses scattered along Tidewater Drive, Cromwell Drive, Chesapeake Boulevard, and Lafayette Boulevard, including a major grocery store, gas stations, restaurants, shops and numerous neighborhood churches. Public facilities and amenities include the five acre Shoop Park, which is located near the southern end of the neighborhood, and a variety of other open spaces located in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is also home to the City’s second oldest fire station located on Verdun Avenue. There are no schools or other major public facilities located within Fairmount Park, although Lafayette Winona Middle School is located across Tidewater Drive, and Lakewood Park and Barraud Park are both located with a 5 minute walk from the neighborhood.
 Fairmount Park is strategically located at the heart of the City of Norfolk. It is bounded by Tidewater Drive, a major arterial road to the west; the Lafayette River to the north; Chesapeake Boulevard to the southeast; and the Lafayette River to the south. Lafayette Boulevard, a major east-west arterial road, runs through the center of the neighborhood. Surrounding neighborhoods include Lafayette- Winona, Ballentine Place, Estabrook, and Lakewood, which are all strong, stable neighborhoods. Both Lafayette Winona and Ballentine Place are listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. 
Brief History of Fairmount Park 
The documented history of the development of the Fairmount Park neighborhood dates back as early as 1899. The area, named Fairview, was later renamed Fairmount Park, and was divided into lots for sale and marketed as “Norfolk’s Ideal Suburb” (The Norfolk Landmark, 1904). The neighborhood streets were laid out on what was once was prime farmland in the country about two miles from the City of Norfolk downtown area.  It was also in 1903 that the streets were renamed from tree names, such as Ash and Birch, to numbered streets. A map dated January, 1920 shows the streets renamed again, this time in commemoration of people, battles, and places significant during World War I. Marne Avenue was named after the River Marne, Verdun Avenue recalled the greatest and lengthiest battle in world history, fought in the town of Verdun, France, and Argonne Avenue recalled the battle in the Argonne-Meuse Forest. Pershing Avenue was named after General John J. Pershing, Commander of the U.S. Army Expeditionary Forces in Europe. 

Fairmount Park became a part of the City of Norfolk in 1923, when the city more than doubled its size by annexing about 24 square miles. With annexation came city amenities such as schools and fire stations. Fire station #11 located on Verdun Avenue in Fairmount Park was completed and placed into commission in 1923. It is currently the 2nd oldest fire station in the city. The area comprised of what is now called collectively Fairmount Park, actually consists of nine distinct neighborhoods, many named for old farms that once occupied the land. Those neighborhoods are Belmont Place, Fairmount Park, Shoop Park, Lafayette Manor,  Lafayette Terrace,  Fairmount Manor, Willard Park, Kent Park and Bell Farms. Many of the original farmhouses still exist today and have been incorporated into the neighborhoods, including the original Belmont farmhouse built in 1890 on Lens Avenue, the original Willard house built in 1919 on Columbia Avenue and the original Bell Farm farmhouse built in 1909 on Willow Wood Drive.