As Virginia's largest City, Suffolk is 430 square miles of rich land with woods, lakes, rivers, and rolling terrain - not to mention wise development and the use of it - that make this area bountiful for residents and businesses alike. Our schools and parks, neighborhoods, health care facilities and utilities help create a successful community. In fact, some of the region's most prosperous companies already call Suffolk home. And the great potential for growth is attracting many new businesses and employees. This is a place full of pride. Full of promise. A place where progressive isn't just a description, it's an attitude. It's a place with vision. It's Suffolk, Virginia. You're welcome to join us.
Seal of Suffolk
The seal showcases important founding dates:
- 1646 for Nansemond County
- 1742 for Suffolk
- 1974 for the consolidated City of Suffolk
It is held that maces originated from the simple warlike clubs carried by ancient man while hunting, then gradually evolved into an elaborate weapon of offense made of iron or steel and finally into a work of art. As art, the mace was carried as a symbol of authority by sergeant-at-arms; the first instance of which is during the reign of King Richard I in 1189.
Suffolk, Virginia has strong ties with its Mother Country, England, the most visible being derived from Suffolk County, England. It was considered appropriate to develop some symbol which would emphasize this relationship. The town of Ipswitch, in Suffolk County, England, has a similar mace and shared its design with the City of Suffolk to commemorate its relationship. The design was expanded upon to incorporate historic elements of Suffolk’s past as reflected in the City seal. On June 7, 1978, the Suffolk City Council adopted a resolution designating the mace as the city’s regalia and, by such action, developed a symbol of its relationship to the people of Suffolk County, England to Suffolk, Virginia.
The City Council felt that the mace should be developed and given to the citizens of Suffolk at no cost in local tax dollars. In this regard, the Suffolk City Council authorized the Suffolk Rotary Club to take this on as a civic project. As a result of Council’s authorization, the Suffolk Rotary Club agreed to underwrite the total cost of the development of the mace and made it possible that this symbol could be a true gift to the citizens of Suffolk, Virginia.
This replica of the Suffolk mace was presented to the citizens of the City of Suffolk, Virginia by the Suffolk Rotary Club on May 10, 1979, by William R. Reid, President.
Native Americans lived off the bountiful land in Suffolk. Back in 1609, the Nansemond Indians drove out Captain John Smith, who was interested in the oyster beds in the Nansemond River. This river, the commerce it helped create, and the English settlers who recognized the opportunity they would have here, gave birth in 1742 to the Town of Suffolk, named after Governor William Gooch's home of Suffolk County, England.
Burned by the British in 1779 and damaged by other fires throughout the next century, Suffolk survived to become a city in 1910. In 1974, it became the present City of Suffolk, consolidating with the towns of Holland and Whaleyville, and the County of Nansemond. The end result was a new municipality encompassing a total of 430 square miles, making it the largest city in land area in Virginia and the 11th largest in the country.
In 1912, an Italian immigrant named Amedeo Obici moved from Pennsylvania to Suffolk and opened Planters Nut and Chocolate Company. Today, Suffolk remains a major peanut processing center and transportation hub.