Historic Hilton Village

Historic Hilton Village

In 1917, during World War I, the war effort is in full swing. Newport News Shipbuilding has many contracts to build ships and is hiring; shipyard workers are being housed in overcrowded and/or temporary quarters and the community of Newport News is facing a severe housing shortage. This led to the birth of Hilton Village. In fact, the housing shortage was so severe that Newport News Shipbuilding president Homer L. Ferguson traveled to Washington to emphasize to congress its impact on ship construction, and thus the war effort. Immediately after his appearance, the United States Shipping Board was provided funding of $1.2 million and authorization to create a comprehensive emergency housing program. Hilton Village was the first project for the emergency housing program. About three miles north of the Newport News City limits, in Warwick County, land known locally as the Darling Tract was purchased. This consisted of about 200 acres of woodlands and, located on a bluff overlooking the James River, the pre-Civil War homestead was named "Hilton". In 1917, one of the finest town planners of the era, Henry Vincent Hubbard of Harvard University, was employed to plan the community; Francis Joannes was hired as the architect. The architects met with the wives of shipyard workers. Based on their input 14 house plans were designed for the projected 500 English village-style homes. Clearing the wooded site began on April 18, 1918 with a hoard of laborers and mules. By the time of the Armistice in November 1918, almost 200 homes had either been completed or were substantially complete and more than a dozen families lived in Hilton Village. Hilton’s formal dedication was held on July 7, 1918. The Hilton Elementary School was completed in 1919. Scaled back to 473 homes after the end of World War I, by the end of 1920 all the homes had been completed and were occupied. The cost estimate for site development and building each house was $3,200. The average annual salary at Newport News Shipbuilding was between $1,400 - $2,000. Hilton Village has maintained its close knit neighborhood quality and is a desired location for families, empty-nesters, retirees and businesses.

Hilton Village and North End Huntington Heights are the only historically designated areas in Newport News. The City’s architectural review boards maintain the historic and architectural integrity of designated historic areas. 

City of Newport News Architectural Review Board

Being that Hilton Village is to be protected and preserved one must consult the Architectual Review Board for approval of any home improvement plans. Below is the Design Guide for Hilton Village.

Hilton Village Design Guide