“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Phoebus in Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Harrison Phoebus

"Being a friend to all"


— Explore Hampton 2010: From the Sea to the Stars —

Harrison Phoebus Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
1. Harrison Phoebus Marker
Harrison Phoebus was born the youngest of 16 children in 1840 and grew up on a small farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore. He lost his father at an early age and had to forego much formal education in order to help his family scratch out a living. He did not lack energy. Whether tonging for oysters, working as a carpenter, hauling lumber, or building houses, he pushed himself to succeed.

During the Civil War he served to years in the infantry on the Union side, then offered his services to the Adams Express Company in Baltimore, working as a wagon boy, special messenger, and finally station agent in the company's office at Old Point Comfort. He was practically a one-man band, adding jobs as agent for several rail and steamship lines, postmaster, and United States Commissioner. He sold insurance and made shrewd real estate investments. When the lavish Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort went into decline, he and a backer from Adams Express gained control.

"I will have the best hotel of its kind in the country and i will have the public know," he declared, and he would make good on this promise. After traveling widely to size up the

Harrison Phoebus and Phoebus Life Markers image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
2. Harrison Phoebus and Phoebus Life Markers
competition, he added elevators, gas lights, electric bells in the rooms and baths of every description: Turkish, Russian, sulfur, and vapor, to name a few. The Hygeia became one of the best-known hotels in the country, with accommodations for 1,000 guests, many of them famous, who came to take the "airs" on the verge of the Chesapeake Bay.

In 1881, when the C & O Railway began service from Richmond to Newport News, Phoebus helped convince the railroad to extend the line to what was then called Chesapeake City. Because of his role, the station stop was named Phoebus, and before long so was the post office. He had plans drawn up for "Roseland," a stately mansion, with magnificent gardens overlooking Hampton Roads. But before it was finished, Phoebus, just 45 years old died suddenly of a heart attack. He left a simple philosophy, "being a friend to all."

Roseland Manor, home of Harrison Phoebus, was built in 1887 by C. Taylor Holzselaw and destroyed by fire in 1985.
Erected 2010 by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: CommunicationsIndustry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars.
Location. 37° 1.073′ N, 76° 19.316′ W. Marker

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is in Phoebus in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is on East Mellen Street 0.1 miles east of South Mallory Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 24 E Mellen St, Hampton VA 23663, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Phoebus Life (here, next to this marker); Phoebus - The Gateway To The New World (within shouting distance of this marker); Town Hall / Fire Department (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memoriam (within shouting distance of this marker); Phoebus (approx. 0.2 miles away); Saint Mary Star Of The Sea And Its School (approx. ¼ mile away); Camp Hamilton (approx. 0.3 miles away); War of 1812 (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Phoebus.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 8, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 44 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 8, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Mar. 6, 2021