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Elizabeth River with a Tugboat, Sailboat and the USS Wisconsin
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City Mission & Seal
City of Norfolk, Virginia SealCity of Norfolk Seal
Norfolk’s official city seal is its fourth. The first was presented to Norfolk Borough on June 24, 1740, by Samuel Smith, on the same day that he took his seat as Mayor of Norfolk. A second seal was given to the borough the following year by Robert Dinwiddie, Surveyor-General of the Customs of the Colony, in appreciation for being named an honorary Norfolk citizen. One of the two seals survives, but it is unclear which one, as a full description of neither is recorded. The extant seal is English in design, depicting spires, a fortified tower, and a ship under construction.

After Norfolk became a city in 1845, the seal was modernized. A raised circle around the margin of the seal was added, with the words “City of Norfolk.” The images inside the circle were changed to depict a ship above a plow and three sheaves of wheat. The ship was described as a steamship, but was actually a hybrid concoction having both sails and paddle wheels.

In 1912, upon a recommendation by Norfolk citizen Barton Myers, Norfolk Common Council and Board of Alderman appointed a committee to improve on the design of the seal. The committee reported back in March 1913, recommending a full-rigged sailing ship to replace the steamship and new text around the seal’s perimeter. The wheat sheaves and plow were retained. The legend “Et terra et mare divitiae tuae” was added over the ship, and the motto “Crescas” under the wheat. The legend was meant to be translated “Both by land and by sea thy riches (are);” and the motto, “Thou shalt grow.” The outer border of the seal gives the dates when Norfolk was incorporated as a town, borough, and city.

The City of Norfolk shall provide leadership and direction responsive to the needs and desires of all citizens of Norfolk. This shall be done in an efficient, equitable, cost-effective manner that uses available resources for the maximum benefit.

Leadership shall be directed to strengthening Norfolk as the economic and cultural hub of Hampton Roads, to preserving and enhancing the environmental setting and assets of the city, and to improving the quality of life and opportunities for the diverse populations living in, working in, and visiting Norfolk.

Contact Us
Office of the City Council

1006 City Hall Building
810 Union St.
Norfolk, VA 23510

Ph: 757-664-4268
Fx: 757-664-4290