Bay Shore Hotel

Known Name(s)

Bay Shore Hotel


Buckroe Beach, VA

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status



The 1956 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Hampton indicates that the Bay Shore Hotel ("colored") is three stories, brick on the first level, frame above. The rear/west elevation has two cinder block brick-faced one story additions plus a smaller one-story frame addition. The hotel faces the water and is surrounded by a dance hall, bath house, rides, a restaurant, a pavilion, and booths. A fish house is nearby. Interestingly, a sewage pumping station is also nearby, on Bay Shore Road. 

Detailed History

In the 1890s, administrators from Hampton Institute purchased beachfront land in Buckroe and constructed the Bay Shore Hotel. Begun as a small four-room cottage, by 1925 the hotel had expanded to seventy rooms with an associated amusement park, pavilion, and pier. African-Americans flocked to this beachfront resort from several states away. The C&O railway ran a line to Buckroe Beach during the summers until World War II. Churches throughout Virginia had regular summer outings to Buckroe Beach. The Bay Shore Hotel was listed in The Green Book from 1947-1958 & again from 1962–1964 and 1966 - 1967. Ironically, the all-white Buckroe Beach Amusement Park sat adjacent to the Bay Shore Beach Resort, separated only by a fence that stretched across the beach into the water. Performers at the resort included Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Redd Foxx.

In the late twentieth century, attendance declined due to competition from other venues. The amusement park shut down in 1985 and was demolished in 1991. According to Friends of East End Cemetery in Richmond, onetime owner of the Bay Shore Hotel, James Maryland Bradshaw, is buried at East End. They uncovered his grave marker in March of 2019.

Mr. Charles H. Williams, of the Bay Shore Hotel in Buckroe Beach, VA, attended the second annual convention of the Nation-Wide Hotel Association (NHA) held in Detroit in November of 1955. (Source: "1955 Hotel Men of the Year," Afro-American, November 19, 1955, page A3.)

On October 19, 2023, Governor Glenn Youngkin and Delegate Mike Mullin unveiled a historic marker commemmorating the Bay Shore as a result of Delegate Mullin's legislation to mark sites in Virginia listed in the Green Book. The Bay Shore marker is the first to be placed.


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