Red's Pier

Lewis C. "Red" Crossley
b. 01 Jan 1903, Newport News VA
d. 03 Apr 1971, Newport News VA

1961 Anchor, p. 12

"It was a short walk (from Ferguson Park Apartments) over to Red's Pier to go fishing or swimming. 
(The James River was relatively clean and clear back then.) 
Red's Pier was owned by Red Crossley.
He would show up each year at the NNHS/HHS Turkey Day football game carrying a pig.
It was some sort of tradition. 
Both Red AND the Pier (and I suppose the Pig) are long gone."

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 04/09/03 
Thanks, Dave!

1939 "From my Mother's photo album; date unknown." 1957 Anchor, p. 156  
Courtesy of Bob Buchan ('61) of VA
via Dave Spriggs ('64)
of VA - 04/05/05
Thanks, Guys!
-  Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 04/11/03
Thanks, Dave!
12/03/03 Tim Parsons ('73) of VA - 07/17/04
Thanks, Tim!


In visiting your site, which I do often, I was reminded of an argument that perhaps our classmates can verify or put to rest.
One picture in the '61 Anchor was of 'Red' Crossley in his annual gala garb worn at the 'Turkey Day Game'.
This brought to mind 2 questions: the pig and the pier!

 I had been told many, many years ago, that there was in truth no such place as "Red's Pier"!  Although we ALL referred to the pier as 'Red's', it in fact belonged to the city of NN. The shanty shack that rested upon the bank and at the foot of the pier, selling bait and "sandwiches", was "Red's Place", not pier.  Thus, the name was transferred and cemented in all our brains as "Red's Pier"!
Which is true? As if it makes any difference!!

 As to the "pig", it is my understanding that was due to the name of the long standing and successful football coach at HHS,
"Suey" Eason.  Farmers, as am sure all you city slickers know, summon their pigs to feed by using the term "suey, suey, pig"!
My grandfather was a farmer and relayed all of my intensive farming knowledge from him to me.  He taught me enough for me to understand that whatever I was going to pursue, farming was not on the list.

Anyway, that's my understanding of the pig that Red always brought to the game.  Its original intent was to insult "Suey" Eason. True?

- Wayne Stokes of VA - 05/02/03
Thanks, Wayne!

I have read Wayne's entry about "Red's" Pier, and I believe that he is correct.  I haven't done any research to corroborate it, but it does seem right that the pier and associated boat ramp were part of Huntington Park and were owned by the City; Red probably either owned or had a franchise to operate the bait shack.  Through time, Red and the pier became synonymous, and the name stuck. 
So, I stand corrected about my original statement concerning ownership.

As for the Pig, the origin of that legend will require the input of someone much older than I. 

There is a parallel much closer to home. 
When the new gym was constructed across 30th Street, it was not Julius Conn Gym.   It was officially the Newport News High School Gymnasium.  It was officially dedicated to Coach Conn (see 1964 Anchor, p. 90), but we students needed little time to attach Julie's
name to it.  The idea was so right, so natural, that there was
no debate or controversy; we simply began saying "Conn Gym" and never looked back. 

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 05/03/03
Thanks, Dave!

Anyone out there with answers to these questions?  Anyone?  Anyone?

In returning to the Red's Pier link on your site, looking for any
response to my statements/questions concerning the 'pig and the pier', I was delighted to see that Dave Spriggs('64) had responded.

First and foremost, there is no need for Dave to "stand corrected"!
No, for indeed, I think we all thought Red owned the pier.
As I said, "As if it makes any difference", we ALL referred to the place as "Red's Pier".  And I think in our collective mind, it will always remain "Red's Pier", all technicalities aside!

As I said, many, many years ago, I was informed that "Red's Pier"
 was a misnomer!  I didn't know that!!  Someone politely corrected me
(or more correctly informed me) that Red didn't own the pier.
This came about as I began to tell a "war story" that began with "One night at Red's Pier..." .  I was then informed of the "statement/question" I wrote on your link about "Red's Place".

On to the Pig!
As a wee lad, still haunting the halls of Stonewall Jackson Elementary,
I was lucky enough to attend some of the Turkey Day games at NNHS.
As I sat there in total amazement, among all the pomp, circumstance and glory that was Turkey Day, all of a sudden this pig runs down the middle of the field to a roaring standing ovation from those on our side!
The why of it confused me!!

Uncontrollably curious, I turned to one of the 'older' guys there
(probably a member of the Class of '64) and asked what
that was all about? 
That's when I was told the 'Suey' Eason story.
So, there you have it!

Is any of it true? That is the question!
And, also, the reason my 'statements/questions' regarding this matter were more
of the latter than the former.

- Wayne Stokes of VA - 05/05/03
Thanks, Wayne!

How can we approach Thanksgiving without a tip of the hat
to Red Crossley and his pig?


Red's pier was replaced by the remnant of the old (1927)
James River Bridge which remains a major fishing pier.

The river was certainly not cleaner "back then." 
As late as 1952, raw sewage entered the river at many places including Hilton Village. 
Until 1959, ships pumped their bilges in the harbor.

Red stands in my memory as a stalwart symbol of the tradition that
separates Newport News (and Warwick County) from Hampton
(and Elizabeth City County). 
Despite the crabbing industry, Hampton had pretensions
of history and erudition. 
Newport News was a blue collar town from the word GO;
Red, pig and all.

 - Frank Blechman of Northern VA - 11/25/03
Thanks, Frank!


In trying to determine the exact location of the W & S before Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA pinned it down,
I asked Ron Miller ('59) of NC if he remembered it.  I received this response from him this afternoon:

Yup! It finally came to me Sunday afternoon.
Used to take dates there, then go watch the submarine races near Red's Pier.
(I guess the reason that I didn't remember it sooner was that I was more interested in the submarine races
than the name of the drive-in ;-).  I don't have any problem remembering the races! )

- Ron Miller ('59) of NC - 01/10/05

Well, the more important facts do tend to remain with us more clearly, don't they?!? 
Thanks, Ronnie!

Does anyone know who took Red’s pig?

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63) of MD - 09/09/05
Well, I surely don't!  Let's find out!
Thanks, Chandler!

Carol ... here is a shot from the '61 Krabba which shows
the "great pig theft of 1960"
that Chandler (Nelms - HHS - '63) referenced.
It does not say WHO was responsible,
just that the little fellow was in good hands
(note that Sammy has a baby bottle of milk in hand).

I was only five ... my momma wouldn't let me
past La Salle Avenue, so ya know I didn't do it ... LOL.

- Tom Norris (HHS - '73) of VA - 09/10/05
Thanks, Tom!

I just new someone would remember Red’s pig. It was a tradition for HHS to try to steal the pig the week
before the big game, and I know a few HHS guys that more than once mapped out elaborate plans
to accomplish it (of course I’d never partake in such criminal activities).  Strangely enough, I can’t
remember that we..err…they were ever successful, but the rivalry between the two schools was incredible.

- Chandler Nelms (HHS - '63) of MD - 09/10/05
Thanks, Chandler!

Sunday, April 4, 1971 - Daily Press
Newport News, VA

- Courtesy of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/26/05
Thanks, Dave!

While reading Red Crossley's obituary sent to you by Dave (Spriggs - '64 - of VA), I recalled a picture
that my wife, Ann Garrett Harrell ( NN 51 ), has of Red and her father (far right in picture) and other Typhoon.
Supporters gathered at the Elks Lodge following the Thanksgiving Day Game in about 1950.

- Fred "Gus" Harrell ('51) of VA - 10/26/05
WOWZERONI!!!  How fabulous!  Thanks so much for sharing this jewel with us, Gus!

WOW!!  That has to rank among the true treasures which have been unearthed due to the site. 
Recall that Red's obit mentioned that he was an Elk.

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 10/26/05
Isn't that just amazing?!?  Thanks, Dave!


Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies
Then lock the house up, now you're set
And on the beach you'll see the girls in their bikinis
As cute as ever but they never get 'em wet

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You'll wish that summer could always be here

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer

Don't hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in
Or some romantic moon it seems
Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin'
You'll see more kissin' <wolf whistle> in the cars than on the screen

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
Those days of soda and pretzels and beer
Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer
You'll wish that summer could always be here

You'll wish that summer could always be here
You'll wish that summer could always be here


Fishing gif courtesy of

"Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer" lyrics courtesy of,
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 06/13/03.
Thanks, Dave!

"Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer" midi courtesy of,
also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 06/13/03.
Thanks again, Dave!

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