The region's ONLY organization focused solely on building trust and strengthening social capital through civic engagement

"Save the Old Cavalier"

The Cavalier Hotel2-T2-rightThis "Save the Old Cavalier Hotel" civic engagement project is being conducted by the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement (HRCCE), a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that believes our region works better when citizens have an opportunity to work together on issues that affect their lives and their communities. For more information about HRCCE, please click HERE.

Please visit the Facebook page devoted to saving
the Old Cavalier by clicking HERE.

Live Chat with Mac Rawls

Note: This live chat with Mac Rawls about efforts to preserve the Old Cavalier Hotel
took place on March 13, 2013. You can review the chat below:


Background - The Current Situation

VP-Page2The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach has been owned for many years by a private company controlled by members and descendants of the Dixon family of Central Virginia. Their primary holdings are a valuable mineral mining operation in Dillwyn, Virginia.

There have been many disputes among Dixon family members regarding the Cavalier Hotel. The nature of the allegations is not important at this point. What is important is that a judge ruled that the only way to settle these disputes would be for the hotel to be sold. A Richmond attorney has been appointed to oversee the sale of the hotel.
CBRE-thumbAThe marketing of the property is being handled by CBRE, an international commercial real estate firm with a division specializing in hotels. Newspaper accounts indicate that the property is being offered as three parcels: 1) the 1970s oceanfront hotel tower and Beach Club, 2) the 1927 "hotel on the hill" and its surrounding lawns and 3) the property behind the hotel that fronts Holly Road. Altogether they include multiple buildings spread across roughly 18 acres of showcase value real estate.
The sale is a court-ordered transaction involving private property. As such, the City of Virginia Beach has little control over the sale of the hotel other than the ability to enforce existing zoning laws. The City's Historic Preservation Commission, however, would like to protect the old Cavalier Hotel on the basis of it historic and architectural merit. A special committee convened by Mayor Will Sessoms and chaired by Mac Rawls, former chair of the Historic Preservation Commission and former Director of the City's Museums and History Resources Department, has been appointed to study possible uses for the old hotel and make recommendations to City Council regarding the hotel and the City's role in protecting it.

History - The Hotel That Made Virginia Beach Famous

OldCavalier(From the Cavalier Hotel website)
For over 80 years, The Cavalier has been the hotel that made Virginia Beach famous. Founded in 1927, the hotel has attracted a wide range of guests and celebrities, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and five other US Presidents. The Cavalier was also used as a naval training center during World War II.
Construction Begins
It was 1926. The days of the Charleston, Calvin Coolidge, and The Cavalier. The roaring 20s were well underway when the idea came about for an unsurpassable resort to be built in beautiful Virginia Beach. As strong financial backing helped the idea become reality, the local newspaper ran a contest to name the new hotel. The names were narrowed down to the Algonquin, the Linkhorn, the Crystal, the Sea Pine, and The Cavalier.
On March 5, 1926, The Cavalier prevailed as the official name, and the clearing of the land for the hotel and adjoining 18-hole golf course continued. Months later, on May 9, Mayor Tyler of Norfolk spoke at the ground breaking, setting in place the corner stone of The Cavalier.