City, seat of justice of Norfolk Co, VA. Situated on Elizabeth river, opposite Portsmouth, 32 miles from its entrance through Hampton Roads into the ocean, 106 miles southeast of Richmond and 230 miles from Washington. This town is more remarkable for its deep and spacious harbor, than for its appearence. The ground is low and marshy, the Great Dismal Swamp covering a large portion of Norfolk Co. The streets are generally irregular and the houses not splendid, though some of the principal avenues are wide, straight, and neat. Hampton Roads are the basin formed by James and Elizabeth rivers before passing into the Atlantic. The entrance to these from the ocean, is defended by strong fortifications. At Gosport, near Portsmouth, on the west side of Elizabeth river, is a navy yard, with a dry dock built of hewn granite.
The Seaboard and Roanoke railroad connects Portsmouth with Weldon, on the route of the Washington and Wilmington line. The commerce of Norfolk exceeds that of any other place in Virginia, and several hundred thousands dollars are invested in manufactures.
The population in 1810 was 9,193; in 1820 was 8,478; in 1830 was 9,816; in 1840 was 10,920 and in 1850 was 14,326