Skiffe's Creek is located in James City County and the independent city of Newport News in the Virginia Peninsula area of the Hampton Roads region of southeastern Virginia in the United States. It is a tributary of the James River.
Early history 17th-19th centuries
In the early 17th century, Skiffe's Creek bordered Martin's Hundred, a proprietary settlement dating to 1618 in the British Colony of Virginia. The creek formed one of the borders between James City Shire and Warwick Shire when they were formed in 1634 by the House of Burgesses as directed by King Charles I as two of the eight original shires of Virginia.
For over 300 years it was part of the boundary between James City County and Warwick County. The latter consolidated into the city of Newport News in 1958. The creek continues ot be the dividing line between the two political subdivisions of Virginia.
In 1881, Skiffe's Creek was bridged by a trestle of the new Peninsula Subdivision as the Collis P. Huntington led the development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway through the new Church Hill Tunnel and down the Virginia Peninsula through Williamsburg to reach coal piers located on the harbor Hampton Roads, the East Coast of the United States' largest ice-free port. During the ten years from 1878 to 1888, C&O's coal resources began to be developed and shipped eastward. Coal became a staple of the C&O's business at that time, and still did over 125 years later under successor CSX Transportation.
About 2 miles east of the Skiffe's Creek crossing, the Lee Hall depot was built in 1881-82, and later expanded. The station served tens of thousands of soldiers based at what became nearby Fort Eustis during World War I and World War II.
Skiffe's Creek Reservoir
Skiffe's Creek Reservoir is a portion of the Newport News Waterworks, a regional water provider, owned and operated by the City of Newport News, that serves over 400,000 people in the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and portions of York County and James City County. The regional water system, which included initially an impingement of the Warwick River in western Warwick County, was begun as a project of Collis P. Huntington as part of the development of the lower peninsula with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, the coal piers on the harbor of Hampton Roads, and massive shipyard which were the major sources of industrial growth which helped found Newport News as a new independent city in 1896.
In the early 20th century, Skiffe's Creek was bridged by the new U.S. Route 60. In modern times, most through traffic uses the nearby four-laned Interstate 64 or State Route 143. Two-laned Route 60 now primarily links local traffic between the Grove community of southeastern James City County and the Lee Hall community of Newport News, with each attempting to retain some of their rural aspects as their respective localities are more fully developed.
In the late 20th century, the larger-than-normal rural two story frame depot at Lee Hall was saved from demolition and is highly valued by rail fans and rail preservationists.
In June 2007, a CSX hopper train derailed at the Skiffe's Creek Trestle, with no injuries.