It’s more than just the distinct character that brings history to the homes in Hilton Village. Hilton Village, was the first government-sponsored housing project of its kind in the United States. The Village was designed in 1917 as a community for employees of the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company to meet the housing demands imposed by World War I Ship production.
Homer L. Ferguson, the president of the company, initiated the project after making the “gloomy assessment” that the poor housing situation would have a negative impact on his industry. After an earnest – and successful – presentation to the United States Shipping Board, Mr. Ferguson received funding for his project. He quickly hired acclaimed landscape architect Henry Vincent Hubbard to serve as town planner, architect Joseph D. Leland III and sanitary engineer Francis H. Bulot to develop a town plan to accommodate 500 workers and their families. This collaboration across disciplines represents one of the nation’s first examples of “team planning” as the three men worked jointly to produce a comprehensive and unified plan for Hilton Village.
The resulting design of the community illustrated the emerging values of the “Garden City Movement” through the masterful design of streets, landscaping and building locations to establish a human-scaled and richly varied community which contained everything necessary for a well-balanced suburb. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and the Hilton Village Historic District was established in 1972 by City Council to protect the Village against destruction and degradation as it aged.
Today, Historic Hilton Village is recognized as one of the Great Places in America by the American Planning Association for its unique sense of place, community engagement, timeless design, architectural style, and distinctive character. The district’s architectural treasures are protected by a dedicated architectural review board of volunteers who review all exterior renovations to insure the historic architectural integrity of the district. Remarkably, through the efforts of the residents and the architectural review board, the residential area remains basically intact as it was originally constructed. The commercial heart of the district along Warwick Boulevard has stood the test of time and continues to thrive with new entrepreneurs adding to the eclectic mix of retail, office, restaurants, and community spaces that are unique to Historic Hilton Village.