Newport News, with an estimated population of 180,150 residents, is located on the southwestern end of the Virginia Peninsula and on the north shore of the James River; the city extends to the river's mouth at Hampton Roads. The original area of the colonial settlement, known then as "Newportes Newes," is claimed to be the longest continuously named place in the United States. In 1610, English colonists seized the village known as Kikotan from the native peoples and established their own colony. The city and surrounding area has a rich history beginning with pre-colonial villages through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Newport News for many of its early years was made up of farming land and a small fishing village until the coming of the railroad and the establishment of the shipyard. Major industries located in the city support the international transportation hub. Some of them include Northrop Grumman's Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company and CSX Transportation.
The city is currently undergoing dramatic changes to accommodate growing affluence and new designation as a major metropolitan nexus. Originally, the James River waterfront was considered "downtown." Today, it is almost exclusively made up of Northrop Gumman's facilities and city municipal offices. New urbanization projects are changing the face of Newport News. The new Port Warwick community includes housing for students, families, and those looking for a convenient retirement location. Also included in the plans are upscale restaurants and retail shops. Located near the new neighborhood is Oyster Point City Center. Other attractions in the city include The Virginia Living Museum, which just completed a $22.6 million expansion plan. Local history can be found at the Mariners' Museum, and several American Civil War battle sites and plantations near Lee Hall.