The Willoughby Oak is Norfolk's oldest resident.  It was well
established here before Columbus "sailed the ocean blue".  It is
located at the northeast limits of the Norfolk Naval Air Station 
on the shore of Willoughby Bay.  The oak is within a restricted area
near the Willoughby Naval housing.

It is estimated at 500 to 600 years old with a girth of 26 feet 
with a limb spread of 57 feet.  It is the third-largest 
live oak in Virginia, and 
the healthiest of the three, according to Navy foresters.  Its acorns have 
produced many impressive shade trees in the area.

Named after Sir Thomas Willoughby, a member of the 
Virginia House of Burgesses
 who settled in Norfolk County along the 
Hampton Roads harbor in 1622, 
the tree was declared a protected historical landmark
by the Navy in 1953.

Rose Williams and other members of the Willoughby Civic League
 were instrumental in getting the Navy to rededicate 
the protected tree with a commemorative sign
 during 1990 Arbor Day ceremonies. 
Although it is the only protected tree in a local naval base, 
the Willoughby Oak is part of the Navy's overall
 natural resources management

Ceremonies are planned to take place under the tree during 
Willoughby's 250th Anniversary celebration in September 1999.

A legend concerning it says that because it was unique in this region,
it was planted by Spanish pirates as a marker for buried treasure. 
Although the land around it has been dug up many times,
so far as is known no treasure has been found.

Pictures From the 250th Celebration Willoughby Oak 
Ecumenical Service on the 2nd of October 1999
click here