Real Estate Blog by Windy Crutchfield, REALTOR®

The Evolution of Church Services in Virginia Beach

While surfing the churches in our area to see how they’ve managed to connect with their congregation through the Covid-19 Era, I started thinking about the way church services & facilities have evolved in our community. From the intimate 40 member starter church to the dynamic mega churches, it was enlightening to see the variety of services they provide to our community.

The oldest church in Great Neck is Eastern Shore Chapel, which originally existed on the eastern shore of the Lynnhaven River (1689), about a mile east of it’s current home. Adam Thoroughgood founded the church to provide Anglican services for colonists along the River to allow rural parishioners to get to church easily by water transport, coining the name “The Chapel of Ease.” In 1724 it was relocated to land now owned by Oceana. After 200 years, the church again relocated to the Laskin Rd location including pews, stained glass, the stairway to choir loft, brick walkway, and even the cemetery!  With a preschool, PIN ministry, and a food pantry that serves over 200,000 locals, the impact of our oldest church reverberates through history and projects well into our city’s future.

Prior to building Eastern Shore Chapel, Thoroughgood hosted church services in his home in 1637 and built a church on his land in what is now Church Point. That church building was later relocated to the Witchduck Road location of Old Donation Episcopal Church when rising waters of the Lynnhaven Inlet assumed possession of the land and cemetery. Also, because Thoroughgood granted that original land to the pastor of the church, future development of that land was restricted, and gave rise to the prestigious Bayville Golf Course enjoyed today. 

As the Great Neck area continued to blossom, many other residents organized religious services from their homes. Several used John B. Dey elementary school for their first public services. Francis Asbury United Methodist...

Very Vintage Virginia Beach

Modern day Great Neck is the land of well-appointed homes, glistening pools, and manicured lawns nestled luxuriously between the ocean and the bay. Two historic homes in some of Virginia Beach's most upscale neighborhoods enjoy the bragging rights of being the oldest continuously lived-in properties in Virginia. They whisper about an almost incomprehensible time when long trans-Atlantic travel and laboring in the New World was rewarded with more land to work. 

Early settlers arrived in Virginia in the early 1600s and found our soil produced sweet tobacco, a popular export, as well as corn and grain for the settlers. Adam Thoroughgood, an indentured servant, was our first “developer,” bringing enough settlers to America to be granted 5350 acres. One of those friends was Thomas Keeling, who came with his wife in 1634.  Thomas reportedly named Thoroughgood godfather to his son Adam. Around 1660, Thomas traded 8000 lbs of tobacco for a farm owned by a settler named Richard Dudley, who then moved to Gloucester with his cattle. Informally called “Ye Dudlies,” land records show the Keeling family passed the property through heirs and the house was built by the great-grandson Adam. Analysis of timber used in its construction indicates it was built around 1735. The quality of brick used, the detailed, interior paneling, and the center passage design were very similar to the Adam Thoroughgood home--now a museum--which was built in 1719. 

After the post-Civil War economic decline and the tobacco cigarette rolling machine shifting industry to Richmond, the Keeling family could no longer afford to maintain the property. The home and 36.2 acres were divided and sold. By 1938, the Syers family decided it was time for a new kitchen. An addition was made on the south side of the house and added electricity and plumbing! In the 1950s, a tennis court was built and a baseball diamond attracted young families. In the 60s-70s,...