Hobson makes historic landmark list

Published 9:31 pm Monday, September 28, 2009

The Oystermen of Hobson have gotten their due.

Hobson Village has been listed as an historic resource on the Virginia Landmarks Register.

“It’s finally come to fruition,” said Mary Hill, a community leader and activist. “This is the result of perseverance, endurance, faith and all of the above.”

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The village of Hobson was settled more than a century and a half ago by a group of African Americans fleeing the Virginia Peninsula and settled in the northern portion of Nansemond County, which is now located off of Bridge Road in North Suffolk.

In its earliest roots, residents in the Hobson village made their keep through oystering, which became a formidable trade during the turn of the century.

“Today the village retains a patchwork of historic fabric, and the remaining houses, landmarks, and sites are an important reminder of the contributions of blacks to the economy and culture of Suffolk and the Tidewater region following the Civil War and through the 20th century,” read a press release from the Department of Historic Resources.

Hill said having the village added to the registry is an acknowledgement of the hard work from generations of men and women in Hobson.

“We have a rich and deep history in this village,” Hill said. “We were a self-sufficient people, a community that could take care of its own. (Being named to the registry) gives us recognition for the rich heritage and it is identifies that we are truly a part of American history. I feel that it makes the city of Suffolk even the richer.”

Hill added that she felt having the village listed on the registry will also help to boost tourism in the city as well as the village.

“It’s a great tourist site for people to come and see,” Hill said. “I hope this will be a benefit not only to the people of the Hobson village, but for future generations. We hope it will generate revenue for the village of Hobson and revenue for people who will want to come into the city.”

Hobson was approved by the Department of Historic Resources on a multiple-property document (MPD). An MPD identified no specific landmarks in Hobson to add to the registry of historic landmarks, but the approval of Hobson provides the overarching framework and justification for the future listings of individual landmarks and sites within the village, according to a DHR press release.