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Hilton Village - America's First Public Planned Community


Please note: This book will not be shipping until 12/15/17


America's First Public Planned Community

John V. Quarstein

Hilton Village, in Newport News, Virginia, was the first public housing project built in the United States. Established in 1918, and spurred on my Newport News Shipbuilding President Homer Ferguson, it was created to house shipyard workers during World War I. The village was the city's first planned community and its first National Register of Historic Places district. Hilton's distinctive cottage-style architecture, reminiscent of an English village, is one of the first examples of the New Urbanism and Garden City movements in America. Along the tree-lined streets are homes and shops that might have been pulled from a Dickens novel. The vision of the leaders who crafted Hilton VIllagethe shipyard's Ferguson, Harvard University town planner/landscape architect Henry Hubbard, and world-renowned architect Francis Joannesremains apparent to this day.

Features of this book include a foreword by City of Newport News Mayor McKinley L. Price, D.D.S., a preface by Howard H. Hoege III, president and CEO of The Mariner's Museum and Park, and more than sixty archival photographs from the Museum, Newport News Public Library, Newport News Shipbuilding, private individuals, and other sources.

This book is a must-have for anyone with ties to Newport News, the shipyard, and Hilton Village, past, present and future.

Table of Contents

1. A Bucolic Beginning                       
2. War Clouds Approach                      
3. America Goes to War                     
4. Birth of a New-Style Community                
5. From Concept to Reality–the Village           
6. A New Model Community                
7.  Arts and Entertainment                 
8.  Another World War                    
9. “A Perfect Place to Live”                
10. “The Times They Are A-Changin’”               
11. Into a New Century                    
Afterword–“Days of Future Past”             
Selected Bibliography                    
About the Author                             


Praise for Hilton Village: America’s First Public Planned Community

“John Quarstein is one of  Virginia’s most respected lecturers, storytellers, authors and historic preservationists. John has been a regular voice on WHRO—public television and radio—in the Hampton Roads region for decades.  His unique style grabs an audience’s attention and keeps them riveted throughout.”-Bert Schmidt, President and CEO, WHRO, Norfolk, VA

“Hilton Village comes to life in John Quarstein’s dramatic, yet factual telling of the amazing 1918 building of the village and its role in making Newport News one of the most important shipbuilding cities in the world. Readers will identify with John’s magical storytelling-style and his universally appealing historical figures in a book that’s extremely difficult to put down.”-Jacquelyn Legg Wash, Former Hilton Elementary School teacher and proud resident of Greater Hilton for over fifty years

“After I moved into the village, drawn by its architecture and friendly neighbors, I stood before the historical marker at Main and Warwick and read that this was a federal housing project. For thirty years I worked to uncover and portray what transpired as village historian. I approached John Quarstein with the challenge that the historical district needed a master storyteller. What evolved is a book that everyone who has ever known Hilton will relish, as will those who love the field of urban planning. A wartime need for housing led 1,700 workers to build nearly 400 homes in about seven months—a magnificent community of working class households that remains vibrant a hundred years after it was built. John has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”-Chuck Webb, Village Historian

“When we bought a house in the Hilton Village area more than a decade ago, I had some inkling as to the historic importance of the neighborhood.  But after reading this very interesting book by John Quarstein, I have a much richer understanding of the depth and significance of the hidden historic legacies of this still-vibrant community. John has devoted a lifetime to making known the history of southeastern Virginia, and he has clearly done a lot of research for this book. Anyone with a personal interest in the area could use his detailed list of references for genealogical or other local historical research. I highly recommend this book for anyone who values knowing more about the origins and development of Hilton Village and Newport News.”-Thomas Hall, Associate Professor of Economics, Christopher Newport University
“John Quarstein provides a richly detailed history of Hilton Village and its historical significance. Told from the onset of World War I, this book skillfully traces its early development and expansion, and examines why this community is so important to preserve for future generations.”-Sheri Shuck-Hall, Associate Professor of History, Christopher Newport University


Format: 6" x 9" paperback on heavy permanent paper, printed in the United States
Pages: 186
ISBN 10: 1-939995-27-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-939995-27-8
LCCN: 2017048198
Price: $21.95 (Bulk order rates are available upon request)

About the Author

John V. Quarstein, author of Hilton Village

JOHN V. QUARSTEIN   is an award-winning historian, preservationist, and author. He is the director of the USS Monitor Center at The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia. The author of fifteen books, his titles include A History of Ironclads: The Power of Iron Over Wood; CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender; and The Monitor Boys: The Crew of the Union’s First Ironclad, winner of the 2012 Henry Adams Prize for excellence in historical literature. Quarstein has also produced, narrated and written several PBS documentaries, including the film series, Civil War in Hampton Roads, a Silver Telly Award winner. 

Quarstein is the recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s President’s Award for Historic Preservation, the Civil War Society’s Preservation Award, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Gold Historians Medal.

He currently lives in the National Register of Historic Places property known as the 1757 Herbert House. This outstanding example of brick Georgian architecture is located near Blackbeard’s Point on the Hampton River in Hampton, Virginia.

 “John Quarstein is one of Virginia’s most respected lecturers, storytellers, authors and historic preservationists.  John has been a regular voice on WHRO—public television and radio—in the Hampton Roads region for decades.  His unique style grabs an audience’s attention and keeps them riveted throughout.”  - Bert Schmidt, President and CEO, WHRO, Norfolk, Virginia

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This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 28 November, 2017.

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