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PAC/VBHS Newletter Article

HOW DID IT GET THAT NAME?

Pungo Ridge. The designation, or name, Pungo Ridge dates back to Colonial times in what is now Virginia Beach. Do you know what it is, where it is and have you been on it? Could it be important today if a major hurricane strikes us?

A dictionary defines a ridge as a long, narrow upper section or crest of something. This certainly describes Pungo Ridge as it is an elevated land form running from the shores of Chesapeake Bay almost to North Carolina. The name Pungo is credited to an Indian chief but if he were an actual person is unknown to this writer. The Pungoteague and Machipungo Indians did live in eastern Virginia, however.

As Pungo Ridge runs in a north-south direction on the eastern side of our city, there is a great probability you have been on it or crossed it hundreds of times. Virginia Route 615 follows much of the ridge which we know as Great Neck Road, First Colonial Road, Oceana Boulevard, and Princess Anne Road. These roads basically follow the routes established by the colonials as they made their way over the higher and drier portions of our land.

And, yes, if a major hurricane hits us, Pungo Ridge will be one of the relatively few places not inundated. Examine a hurricane flood map and Pungo Ridge is quite evident.

It was, also, along or near this ridge in Virginia Beach that the earliest English settlers received most of their land grants because the land was tillable, which they needed to survive, and waterways were plentiful.

The next time you ride along or over Pungo Ridge give our high point a nod of appreciation and envision the early settlers who made their way, much more slowly, over the same route.

Anne Henry: PAC/VBHS Newsletter Spring 1998, Vol 1, Issue 3

 
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Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society
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