—On the Avenue - Historic North End Huntington Heights —
Built c. 1900, the Harwood House prominently occupies a half block on Huntington Avenue at the corner of 54th Street. It is a Colonial Revival/Queen Anne brick residence consisting of three floors and a full English basement.
Most of the grand houses along Huntington Avenue were built for Northern industrialists, who arrived in the late 1800s to help establish the port facilities, shipyard and early city government. By contrast, 5400 Huntington was home to the Harwoods, a long established Southern family of Warwick County.
The house was constructed by Washington William Harwood (1853-1932) and his wife Montague Weisiger Harwood (1857-1943). He was a pioneer merchant, banker and city councilman. She was an early educator in the public schools, operated the private Newport News Female Seminary, founded the Newport News Woman's Club and was an arbiter of local cultural, civic, religious and social concerns. Their house was one of the most elegant structures along the main thoroughfare between Newport News and Warwick County.
The house was donated to the City of Newport News in 2015 to be used for historic and educational pursuits.
The Harwoods spared no expense on their country home in the new suburb of North End. When constructed, their house was outside the city limits
by four blocks and had an unimpeded view of the James River. Built on five lots, its 6,100 square feet boasted commodious parlors and dining room, seven bedrooms, a third floor bathroom, combination gas/electric lighting, ornate steam radiators and interior pull-down shutters.
Exterior architectural features included three porches, widow's walk, roof cresting, Baltimore pressed brick, weather-struck mortar joints and five stained glass windows. A two-story carriage house (a mail order catalog kit structure) stood on the back corner of the property. Still enclosed by its wrought iron fencing, 5400 is the only residence in Newport News to retain its original turn of the century brick sidewalks.
: Detail from a 1903 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map depicts 5400 situated on lots 24-28 fronting then Lafayette Avenue.
: A World War I aerial clearly shows the widow's walk, roof cresting and carriage house.
OneCity Historical Foundation
The One City Historical Foundation
, a nonprofit organization, seeks to promote understanding of the establishment and early history of the City of Newport News by collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting that history and its relationship to former Warwick County, the region and the nation.
This organization, founded as
a means to support the Harwood House and similar endeavors, is committed to telling the story of our community and enhancing its preservation.
To learn more about The Harwood House and One City Historical Foundation