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Back Bay Wildfowl Guild Memories: HISTORICAL ROAD MARKERS

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Bernard Holland was the son of John Lytleton Tazewell Holland and Emma Alice Walton. John and Emma resided on the Walton Family Plantation “Osceola” with Emma’s parents in Fluvanna County, Virginia. John was a circuit riding preacher, traveling each week to a different church for Sunday services. Shortly after Bernard was born in 1867; the Walton Family plantation was taken by carpetbaggers for unpaid taxes owed on the property. The Hollands were forced to move to more modest accommodations in Goochland County, Virginia. In 1885 Bernard and his younger brother, Walton, moved to Virginia Beach where Bernard had been hired as a clerk by the Virginia Beach and Cape Henry Railroad. 

Bernard’s first career assignment was as a clerk in the Princess Anne Hotel between 14th and 17th Streets on the oceanfront. The railroad owned 90% of Virginia Beach and the Princess Anne Hotel. Bernard and Walton both lived in the Princess Anne Hotel. It was customary for wealthy New Englanders to spend at least part of the winter season in Florida. Trains were the primary means of transportation in the late 1800’s. It was a very long trip from New York to St. Augustine; so the railroads owned several lavish stop overs on the trip South. The Princess Anne Hotel was one of these favored stops. It was during one of these stop overs that Bernard Holland met Emily Randall Gregory. They instantly fell in love and were wed in 1895 in Cooperstown, NY with a lavish wedding and reception. 

Bernard then returned to Virginia Beach and built Emily a beautiful brick Victorian style cottage right on the ocean at 12th Street and Atlantic Ave. The house became known as the “Brick House” because it was the only brick cottage on the beach at the time. It later became known as “The Holland Cottage“. 

Bernard and Emily owned a general store on 17th Street where Bernard maintained a small office. He was appointed Virginia Beach’s first Postmaster General. In 1906 Virginia Beach was incorporated into a Township and Bernard was elected it’s first and third Mayor. 

The new historical road markers will be installed, to celebrate Bernard Holland’s life, on Atlantic Ave, directly in front of deWitt Cottage and on The Boardwalk directly behind deWitt Cottage. 

The design for the marker will be similar to the one pictured here to the left. It will also be the first local road maker installed in Virginia Beach! 

The research and grant for this project is being conducted by our volunteer historian, Julie Spivey. We hope to have the new markers installed by April. 

The picture on the left is just an example, not the final design. 

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