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The first bank at Newport News, the first newspaper, the U. post office, the federal customs office, and even the municipal government of Warwick County were each located within the Hotel Warwick, at least for a time.It was also the site in 1886 of the organizational meeting for the Chesapeake Dry Dock and Construction Company.Newport News was merely an area of farm lands and a fishing village until the coming of the railroad and the subsequent establishment of the great shipyard. Huntington had visited the rural village known as Newport News Point.He later became wealthy as one of the men who built the first transcontinental railroad across the western United States.
For a brief time, Warwick County shifted the location of its county seat to Newport News from the historic location at Denbigh, where it had been situated since colonial times. In the early years, leaders of the community and shipyard were virtually interchangeable.
The area which is now the city of Newport News has existed under different names and forms including Elizabeth Cittie, Warwick River Shire, Warwick County, Virginia, Warwick City, and the current independent city of Newport News.
During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, English settlers and explorers began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads.
Gookin's tract of over 1,600 acres (6.5 km) ran along the James River from Newport News Point at least four miles (6 km) to the north.
This tract of land had been known by Captain John Smith who had noted that there was a spring with good water here, where ships navigating the James stopped for fresh water.
Schmitt was arrested at the scene and charged with one count of strangulation.