Kecoughtan Indians, at times a part of the great Powhattan Confederacy, roamed the forests and meadows of today's Sandy Bottom Nature Park in search of deer, turkey, river otter and beaver. These animals provided the hunters and their families with food and clothing. Abundant nut-bearing beech, hickory and oak trees, as well as blackberry and blueberry bushes also contributed to the Native American's diet.
In 1607, European immigrants settled around Hampton and built houses and roads. Big Bethel Road, built in the early 1700s, connected a travel route between Newport News and Yorktown. Gradually, the Native Americans were driven from their old hunting grounds. Although areas of the Hampton Roads Peninsula played significant roles during the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, no major battles were fought on the present park site. The site, never developed for urban purposes, retained its natural state until recent times. From the 1860s until the early 1950s, property owners farmed the land and harvested its trees for timber production.
As the population of the Hampton Roads Peninsula and Tidewater area grew, it became necessary for the Virginia Department of Transportation to build more roads. The once pristine forests and meadows where animals lived, Native Americans hunted, colonists settled, and soldiers walked were mined for sand and fill to supply new roads.
What Happened to Paradise
Keep reading to find out more (PDF) about the progressive loss and reclaiming of the beauty of Sandy Bottom Nature Park.