Cannonball Trail History Tour

This self-guided tour allows you to follow the Cannonball Trail through 400 years of Norfolk and American history. The trail winds along the shoreline of the Elizabeth River and through the districts of downtown Norfolk. Follow the historic sites highlighted on this tour and allow a minimum of two hours to walk the entire trail.

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(Built 1739) Built to replace Chapel of Ease, erected on the same site in 1641, St. Paul’s is Norfolk’s only tangible link to her Colonial roots. The church was the only structure in Norfolk Borough to survive the bombardment and fires of January 1776. A British cannonball still embedded in the wall of the church is a reminder. Open to the public.

Four hundred years of coastal Virginia history are showcased in 16 exterior display windows of MacArthur Center. The windows trace Norfolk and environs from their earliest settlements in 1585 to the late 20th Century. Elaborately illustrated with images and artifacts, the Windows capture watershed moments of the region’s history.

(Built 1850) The final resting place of the General Douglas MacArthur. The building’s consulting architect, Thomas U. Walter, designed the dome and the House and Senate wings of the U.S. Capitol. This four-building complex, situated in a landscaped square, contains a museum, theater, exhibition galleries and archives. Open to the public.

(Built 1912) This Classical Revival temple-style building is constructed of limestone. Built to house the Merchants and Mechanics Savings Bank, it was the only Norfolk bank to survive the Civil War.

A bas-relief sculpture set in the ground depicts cultural landmarks, historical events, architectural points of interest and entertaining facts about the coastal Virginia region. This sculpture provides an opportunity to create a bronze rubbing as a keepsake of your visit.

(Built 1908) Designed by Neff & Thompson in the Beaux Arts Classical style, the Monticello Arcade is one of only two shopping arcades standing in Virginia. It features elaborate terra cotta decorative elements, and, at the time it was built, the center skylight was one of the country’s largest. Novelty products from around the world were sold here in “apartment stores”. It currently serves as the site of many of downtown Norfolk’s trendiest boutiques and small businesses.

(Built 1916) Designed by James W. Lee with an ornate marble and terra cotta façade, this reinforced concrete structure was the first fireproof building erected in Norfolk. It was built for Michael McKevitt, a colorful saloon keeper and real estate speculator, on lane he acquired from the Anheuser-Busch Company.

(Built 1912) One of Norfolk’s first commercial high-rise structures, built in the Sullivanesque style with extensive use of decorative terra cotta. Built on reclaimed land from the Elizabeth River, it was considered an engineering marvel. Though hard to detect with the naked eye, this structure is tilted slightly off its perch.

(Built 1906) Designed as a hotel by Benjamin Franklin Mitchell and Charles Parker Breese for the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, this Classical Revival style building was advertised as “absolutely fireproof”. Following a fire in 1976, it was renovated into residential apartments.

(Built 1900) This Classical Revival building is noted for its elaborate high style stone façade and ornamental leaded glass windows. The frieze between floors features four limestone lions’ heads.

(Built 1908) This Classical Revival building is noteworthy for its eclectic mixture of Greek and Roman Temple architectural elements. The structure served as a bank from construction until 1977. In 1997 it became the home of the venerable Virginia Club, an exclusive organization founded in Norfolk in 1873.

(Built 1858) Designed by Ammi B. Young, this Classical Revival structure remains one of Norfolk’s most impressive buildings. It has housed both customs offices and the post office, and was used by Federal troops as a dungeon between 1862 and 1865. It was built to replace a dilapidated 1825 structure several blocks away, where a grand ball honoring General Lafayette had been held in 1824.

(Built 1899) This eight-story brick and terra cotta Roman Classical structure was, at the time of its construction, Norfolk’s tallest building. Its interior features marble paneling, ornate columns, mosaic floors, rich woodwork and chandeliers. Ships moored in the harbor set their clocks by the rooftop “Time Ball” which was lowered everyday at Noon.

(Built 1931) The Arcade takes its name from Dr. William Selden, who once owned the site. Retailers and financiers prospered here into the 1980s; but many storefronts were vacant by 1995. The City of Norfolk purchased the Arcade in 2003 and renovated it in 2005 to serve as studio space for the more than 40 artists of the d’ART Center. Open to the public.

The Armed Forces Memorial is connected to Town Point Park by two foot bridges. The memorial features excepts from 20 letters written home by soldiers who died during military service. The letters are cast in thin sheets of bronze, and are scattered across the ground as if blown there by the wind. Open to the public.

The Hampton Roads Naval Museum showcases more than 200 years of local maritime history. The museum features an impressive array of exhibits, models and archaeological artifacts. Free and open to the public.

The Taiwan Observation Tower, known as The Pagoda, was a gift to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the City of Norfolk from the Taiwan Provincial Government, Republic of China, as a result of a sister state relationship established with Taiwan in 1981. The Tower was built around the pillars that previously supported a 500,000 gallon molasses tank. All materials for the tower were manufactured in Taiwan and shipped to Norfolk for assembly.

(Built 1807) Originally built in the Federal style, this house has many Victorian additions. While Dr. William B. Selden served as Surgeon General of the Confederate Army, his home served as a headquarters for Union occupation troops. A grand reception was held here in 1870 for General Robert E. Lee.

(Built 1870) This High Victorian Italianate house with a Mansard roof feature an ornamental cast iron veranda. John Cary Weston was one of the founders of the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal Company. He built this as a summer residence following the Civil War.

(Built 1900) This Georgian Revival-style house served as the home and office of Dr. Charles Rollins Grandy, a pathologist and leader in the fight against tuberculosis. The combination of Flemish bond brickwork and graceful portico with Ionic columns creates a lovely façade.

(Built 1904) This Beaux Arts Classical library was built with a $50,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. The land was donated by the Selden and Grandy families. The lintel cornice has a frieze engraved with the name of famous authors.

(Built 1889) This Italianate block of row house apartments was constructed by a prominent Norfolk coal and lumber dealer. Projecting bays give an undulating appearance and provide interest and continuity to the complex.

(Built 1901) This Colonial Revival residence was built by the founder of the Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corporation. His wife, Matilda Secor Roper, was a noted painter. The two adjoining homes were built for their daughters. The cast iron gate leads to the Roper Memorial Garden.

(Built 1852) This classic example of the Greek Revival architectural style features a one-story portico flanked by paired Ionic columns. In 1851, William S. Camp helped organize the Merchants and Mechanics Savings Bank, the only local bank to survive the Civil War. The original cast iron fencing is considered to be of museum quality.