Newport News, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Newsome House
2803 Oak Street ~ 1899
This house has served two families. It was built in 1899 by Dr. William R. Granger as a residence for his large family. In 1906, Granger sold it to Joseph Thomas Newsome and his wife Mary.
Mr. Newsome was a newly arrived attorney who over the course of 40 years would make his mark in the city. Together, he and Mary prospered as part of the post Civil War South's new urban black middle class. They first lived in Newport News at 1125 30th Street. After the birth of their daughter Maurice in 1904, they were desirous of a more elegant dwelling befitting their advancing economic and social status.
They made the house a showplace filled with fine furnishings. It became a gathering place for voter registration drives, educational pursuits and pioneering equal rights activities. Booker T. Washington crossed its threshold twice.
Home Sweet Home
The Newsomes resided here the rest of their lives; their daughter was the last to do so. The house was sold in 1977 to Newsome House, Inc., a foundation of private citizens interested in preserving is as a memorial to the Newsome legacy of
The house remained vacant for more than ten years and greatly deteriorated while funding was sought. In its first major effort at historic preservation, the City of Newport News accepted the challenge. Between 1987-1990, over $600,000 of federal, state, city and private money was spent to restore the house. In April 1990, it was recognized as a landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. In a ceremony attended by over 2,000 people, the refurbished structure was dedicated on February 17, 1991, as a museum and cultural center.
From Saltbox to Queen Anne
The house the Newsome acquired in 1906 was a fram box, located at the corner of Oak Avenue and 28th Street. It had two stories, an attic, a partial basement and city amenities liek indoor plumbing, electricity and gas service. In the years prior to World War I, the Newsome made many improvements — a Palladian window, wrap-around porch, Victorian fretwork, stained glass and an octagonal turret — which transformed the house into a handsome Queen Anne. The front entrance was relocated to open on 28th Street with a set of French doors. Unlike most of the city's houses, built on narow 25'x100' lots, the Newsome propert occupied four lots, permitting them to have a generous yard,
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Architecture • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1899.
Location. 36° 59.415′ N, 76° 24.309′ W. Marker is in Newport News, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of 28th Street and Oak Avenue, on the right when traveling north on 28th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2803 Oak Ave, Newport News VA 23607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Newsome House (a few steps from this marker); The Winfield-Jones House (a few steps from this marker); The Brown Center (within shouting distance of this marker); Pearl Bailey (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Annie Belle Daniels (approx. 0.2 miles away); Greenlawn Cemetery (approx. ¼ mile away); Veterans Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Confederate Dead (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newport News.
More about this marker. In the upper left are pictures of "J. T. Newsome, his wife Mary and daughter Maurice, c. 1912."
The middle pictures display details about the house and show "Carrie Brown outside the Newsome residence prior to its restoration."
The drawings in the upper right corner of the marker show the changes to the house between 1903 and 1926. Its caption reads, "Sanborne Fire Insurance maps document changes to the house made by the Newsomes. Mose evident are the addition of a turret, wrap-around porch and new entrance."
Also see . . . The Newsome House Museum and Cultural Center. (Submitted on October 2, 2016, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 2, 2016, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 254 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 2, 2016, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.