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Fred Heutte Horticultural Center

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1887. 1977, reconstruction. Botetourt Gardens at Raleigh Ave.
  • Fred Heutte Horticultural Center (Jason R. Waicunas)
  • Fred Heutte Horticultural Center (Richard Guy Wilson)

Although difficult to imagine in its present landscaped setting, the Heutte Horticultural Center was originally a bustling ferry terminal at the foot of Commercial Place, where it once met the Elizabeth River waterfront. Commuters bound for Berkley and Portsmouth swarmed under its broad, bracketed roof and graceful arched transoms, where virtually anything from newspapers to crabs could be purchased for the ride home. The opening of the Norfolk-Portsmouth Bridge-Tunnel in 1952 made ferry service redundant, and the building was abandoned.

The wholesale clearance of the waterfront in the 1960s almost claimed the terminal, but farsighted officials at the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority acted—uncharacteristically—in time and dismantled the building. In 1977 it was restored as a horticultural center at a cost of $200,000 to be the centerpiece of Ghent Square. The outward appearance of the reconstructed terminal largely conforms to the original in all but one major respect: gray paint covers the exterior, which in its heyday had a red roof and orange walls to match the ferries.

Of the town houses that surround Ghent Square, the northwestern grouping, at 901–907 Botetourt Gardens, is a particularly handsome example of late modern contextual design, by Barton Myers Associates (1977). Myers is a Norfolk native and a descendant of merchant Moses Myers.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Fred Heutte Horticultural Center", [Norfolk, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 426-426.

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