The City of Suffolk is located in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, on the southern Bank of the James River between Chesapeake and Isle of Wight Counties. Suffolk is connected to the Norfolk/Virginia Beach metropolitan area via Route 58, which provides easy access to I-264, I-664, and I-64. The city is serviced by the Norfolk International Airport, located 30 minutes away, and is located within an hour’s drive of the resorts of Virginia Beach, as well as a two hour drive from the Outer Banks resort areas.
Suffolk’s history dates back to 1608, when the English first settled in the area, and eventually founded Nansemond County. The Town of Suffolk was founded in 1742, to prosper from the bountiful resources of the Nansemond River. The City, as it exists today, was founded in 1976, and is currently the largest-landed city in the state of Virginia, with an area of 430 square miles. Suffolk’s long and distinguished history spans the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, is apparent in its many historical sites which are still open to the public.
The Glebe Church, constructed in 1738 and restored in 1854, is still in use today and is home to an Episcopal Church community. Its history is tied to the American Independence Movement; in 1775, the parson was expelled from the church for advocating loyalty to the British Crown. Riddick’s Folly, a Greek Revival historic mansion and estate dating back to 1837, served as Union headquarters for a time during the Civil War. Today this 21-room home contains a museum and a cultural center which offer educational program and exhibits to the public, covering a variety of historical topics. Cedar Hill Cemetery, located directly behind Riddick’s Folly estate, was established in 1802, and is home to the Confederate Monument, as well as the grave site for many Confederate Generals and soldiers. Cedar Hill is an official site on the Virginia Civil War Trails program.
Suffolk has also long been an influential commercial center. Large peanut and cotton farms and plantations, have long been a staple of the Suffolk area. In 1912, Amedio Omici opened Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, establishing Suffolk as a major peanut processing center. The city is also currently home to major manufacturing and distribution centers for many prominent companies, including Planters Co., Thomas J. Lipton, Sarah Lee Coffee & Tea Co. (formerly Nestlé Beverage Co.), and QVC distributors.