Do you know these five interesting facts about Ocean View, located on the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk? A famous wooden roller coaster featured in a film from the 70s? St. Patty’s Day Parade anyone? Who knew! Check out these fun facts about Norfolk’s fascinating Ocean View:
1. Maganon Plantation
Ocean View was originally a 360-acre region called the Maganon Plantation. In 1854, William Mahone, a young civil engineer who was building the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad, laid out the streets in Ocean View.
2. Ocean View Railroad
Around 1880, Walter H. Taylor, a railroad executive from Norfolk, organized a 9-mile narrow gauge steam passenger railroad service between Norfolk and Ocean View. Originally the line was called the Ocean View Railroad, and was changed to the Norfolk and Ocean View Railroad. The small steam locomotive, named the General William B. Mahone, hauled passengers from Norfolk to the beach, primarily on the weekends and Sunday outings.
3. Ocean View Amusement Park
With the popular beaches that Ocean View offers, and the newly added streetcars in the late 19th century, an amusement park was developed at the end of the line, along with a boardwalk that was built adjacent to the beach area. The amusement park was called the Ocean View Amusement Park and was famous for its landmark wooden roller coaster, “The Rocket.” After years running, the Ocean View Amusement Park closed after Labor Day in 1978. Soon after, in 1979, the vacant amusement park was used to film the movie “The Death of Ocean View Park,” which featured the blowing up of the landmark wooden rollercoaster. Many were surprised when the roller coaster structure would not fall down after various attempts with explosives! Finally, after the third try, a bulldozer off camera had to help pull the structure down to capture the shot for the film!
4. St. Patrick's Day Parade
“Why don’t we have a parade to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?” is what the Irish community in Ocean View decided when they created the famous OV St. Patrick’s Day Parade back in 1967. Called one of Norfolk’s most enduring and anticipated traditions, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade runs down Granby Street. The first parade consisted of a few marching bands, maybe a few hundred attendees. Now it’s Norfolk’s largest annual parade with over 190 bands, floats and thousands of guests.
5. Willoughby Spit
Legend says that OV’s Willoughby Spit was created by a Hurricane. The area known as Willoughby Spit is named after Thomas Willoughby, who came to Virginia in 1610 and received various land grants in 1625. It is said that Willoughby’s son, Thomas II, was living there in the 1660s when his wife awoke one morning following “a terrific storm” to see a point of land in front of her home which had been covered by water just the night before!