Historic communities have specialized concerns, but a little common sense is always current for safety and happiness.


If there is an emergency, call 911.
If it is not an emergency but police still need to know, call 382-6161.


One of the first things people notice in South Norfolk is how close the houses are to each other. This “clustering” is common in old cities everywhere, because everyone wanted to share resources and live near where they worked, where they shopped, where they played, and where they did their financial business.

While many people shudder at the proximity, residents are wise to embrace it, get to know their neighbors, and do what they can to stay on civil, if not on friendly terms with all neighbors, because, while some neighbors can try your patience, they will also keep you safe.

In one South Norfolk block, a neighbor called another neighbor who was traveling to notify them that a car appeared to be missing from the driveway. As it turned out, the missing car was safe at the airport, but what if it hadn’t been?

Because of the proximity and the age of the homes in the area, it is important for residents to be careful with fire. Just because it’s legal to burn in the backyard doesn’t mean you should. In fact, as your nextdoor 117-year-old home, we’d appreciate it if you didn’t burn anything 25 feet away from our yard. You know, because we’re neighbors and all.

Please have your fireplaces safety checked, and install whatever devices might be available to prevent fire and ash from floating from your chimney and landing on a neighbor’s roof.


Folks living in close proximity in historic districts are wise to be patient and considerate with their neighbors. Patience will buy you a stronger relationship, and consideration will buy loyalty and reciprocation from others.


And speaking of consideration, don’t move into an historic district as a renter, with no yard of your own, and expect your neighbors to tolerate your overuse of precious street parking. A considerate neighbor doesn’t have household furniture on the front porch, keeps the grass cut, and doesn’t block the sidewalk. If you commit these sins of inconsideration, don’t be surprised if someone puts you on notice.


South Norfolk is a National Historic Landmark District. Nearly every home in it is a National Historic Landmark, and this is why life in South Norfolk is special: It has a history. Many new South Norfolk homeowners come here for the history, taking great pride in their homes and in the 1900s historic landmark community. Not every resident shares this pride, but we wish they did.


Even though South Norfolk is a close community, we urge you to take every precaution to prevent crime. Do not leave items of value, especially bicycles, unlocked, anywhere on your property. If you have a car, lock it and take your valuables inside. If you have a garage, lock it, and take your valuables inside. We recommend security cameras if you can afford them. Security systems can help you save on insurance, and if you have a yard and are responsible pet owner, dogs are always good to have around.


Join your community! Meet neighbors at the South Norfolk Civic League meetings on second Mondays each month at the South Norfolk Community Center, 1217 Godwin Ave.

You may also want to join the South Norfolk Neighborhood Watch, which meets on the third Monday of the month at the Chesapeake Avenue United Methodist Church, 1200 Chesapeake Ave.

For a list of meetings in our area, please visit our Meetings page.