1894 Farmhouse in Historic Fishing Village
- 1st Floor Bath
- Dining room
- Entry Hall
- Living room
- Master bedroom upstairs
- 1 Car Garage
- Driveway - Paved
- Gated Entry
- Storage Building
- Storm Windows
- Built-in Cabinets
- 2 Fireplaces
- Original wood windows
- Standing Seam Metal Roof
- Wood floors
- Shingle Roof: Metal
- Central air
- City sewer
- City water supply
- Gas heating
- Water Heater - Gas
- Plaster Walls
- Ripple Glass
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Howard Hanna - Smithfield
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For much of its history, the tiny village of Eclipse was known as part of the neighboring community of Crittenden, a settlement of fishermen and oystermen dating to the 1600s and nestled on a peninsula between the Nansemond River and Chuckatuck Creek.
After the Civil War, the oyster business prospered and the village grew. By 1910, according to a local historian, Crittenden had outgrown its tiny post office and became eligible for a second one to serve the northern part of the village.
"The community sent five names to the government to be considered as the name of the new town," Minnie Moger Corson wrote in her 1986 self-published book, "Living Memories of Crittenden and Eclipse."
"The government selected the name of 'Eclipse' " - pronounced EE-clipse by locals - "because it was so different," Corson wrote. She didn't say what the other suggestions were.
There are two accounts of how residents came up with the name.
Thomas Hazelwood, Suffolk's commissioner of the revenue and son of an Eclipse oysterman, recalls hearing it was named after a brand of kerosene lamp sold at Bunkley's Store on the Eclipse waterfront.
"Some old boys were sitting around the store one day and were looking around for a name for the place, and they saw it on a lantern," Hazelwood said. "That's what I always heard, anyways."
The other version, briefly referred to in "Virginia Place Names" by Raus McDill Hanson, links the name to a dramatic astronomical event a decade earlier.
On May 28, 1900, a total solar eclipse darkened the skies along a narrow band that arced across Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas and southeastern Virginia - including the village - before heading out to sea.
Scientists from the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, then in Washington, loaded seven rail cars with scientific equipment and headed to North Carolina to record the event.
"I was standing on the porch holding my daddy's hand," Eclipse resident Margaret Forrest recalled in a 1970 wire service story published in The Virginian-Pilot. "The chickens all went to roost. The geese all huddled up. The cows all got together. My mother came running out of the kitchen and said, 'Lord, have mercy!' "
All of the hoopla left such an impression on Eclipse residents, according to this version, that when given the chance they decided to name their hamlet after the event.
Both accounts are plausible, Hazelwood said. "Toss a coin, and whichever wins, go with that."
New Standing Seam metal roof added 2003. Tankless hot water heater added around 2010. Storm windows added over "bubble glass" windows to preserve them. Original oak floors have been preserved.
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