Hall Place birthday teaches a lesson

Published 10:51 pm Thursday, April 23, 2009

They say that lessons are best learned from the past. That might well be true for the neighborhood known as Hall Place. Like many neighborhoods, Hall Place has seen its glory days and, well, not-so-glory days.

Hall Place is where many of the chief factory workers who helped build Planter’s Peanuts built their homes and, most notably, was home to the boy who won the contest to create a mascot, now known as Mr. Peanut, for Planters. The neighborhood has a history filled with hard-working people.

Unfortunately, as years went by, many of those people left the neighborhood, and the homes became victims of neglect and disrepair. Recently, though, the civic leagues, led by new owners with visions of restoring its glory, have come to the rescue, bringing the neighborhood many notches above where it was 10 or 20 years ago.


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Now, 100 years after the community was established, those neighborhood civic leagues and residents who are responsible for its revitalization are joining forces to celebrate the history of the area and showcase the quiet little corner of downtown Suffolk.

The celebration will take place on May 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Hall Place Park, at the entrance to the neighborhood. A parade starting at nearby Planters Park will make its way to Hall Place Park and will include antique cars and the Nansemond River High School Band.

Once the parade arrives at Planters Park, there will be ceremonies and the burial of a time capsule. Mr. Peanut will make a special appearance to help cut the birthday cake.

Other attractions will include clowns, face painting, balloon animals, food vendors, a barbershop quartet, period actors, an Elvis impersonator and an Amedeo Obici impersonator. Carriage rides also will be available for $10 per adult and $5 per child. With the exception of the carriage rides and food, all activities are free.

Hall Place can teach us at least two important lessons. First, neighborhood is as good as the people who call it home. And second, restoration and revitalization are about more than just bricks and mortar.