Norfolk and Penniman: A Talk on January 14th! OPEN TO ALL!

Everyone loves the story of a ghost town, and the story of Penniman is especially intriguing because so little is known about this WW1-era village, which was home to more than 15,000 people at its peak!

And, it’s especially important to Norfolk, because about 70 houses from Penniman were transported by barge to Norfolk and surrounding communities.

Monday night (the 14th), I’ll be giving a fun talk on Penniman for the Colonial Place/Riverview Civic League at the Eggleston Garden Center at 110 LaValette in Norfolk (near the Norfolk Zoo).

The talk (a PowerPoint presentation with more than 140 vintage photos) starts at 6:30 and there will be books to sell (and sign) after the talk.

Penniman is truly an awe-inspiring story about a World War One munitions plant in Virginia that has been forgotten and almost lost to history.

DuPont’s 37th munitions plant was staffed by mostly women, who worked assiduously to load TNT into 155mm and 75mm shells.

All are invited to come out and learn more about this lost chapter of Virginia’s history!

To read more about Penniman, click here.

Learn about one of the war workers here.



The caption on this photo says simply, "Freckles: The Trial of All of Penniman." At a lecture someone asked me, "How do you know that the caption was referencing the DOG?"


Thanks to Steve Beauter, we have pictures like this, showcasing life at Penniman. Steve found this on eBay.

Thanks to Steve Beauter, we have pictures like this, showcasing life at Penniman. Steve found this photo album on eBay.



His initials are "SC" and he started work on Spetember 10, 1918, but who is this young man?



This fob (issued by DuPont) was worn on the worker's lapel, and it also helped quickly identify him as a munitions worker when he was out and about in Williamsburg. Young men who were not at the front were known as "slackers" and it was a pejorative.



After Penniman closed, the houses were put on barges and about 70 of the houses landed in Norfolk.



Penniman was vital to the war effort, and yet its story has been lost to time.



Rose will sell (and sign) books after the talk.


To read more about Penniman, click here.



  1. Donna Connolly

    Michael and I wouldn’t mind going, can someone outside of the civic league go?

  2. Sears Homes

    Yes – it’s open to everyone! 😀

  3. Jenny

    I hope your talk goes great tonight!

    Remember to have a snack beforehand and maybe plan something fun for after, perhaps dessert.

  4. Sears Homes

    Thank you so much for thinking of me. As I heal from not only this trauma, but two recent surgeries, I’ve learned that it’s more important than ever to not get too hungry.

    You are so kind, Jenny. Thank you for the thoughtful words.

  5. Mary Patrick

    How can I get a copy of the book? I was a historical interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg for six years and never heard of Penniman.


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