Suffolk is the largest city in the state in terms of land mass. And it's on its way to becoming one of the biggest in population as well.
Its population of about 80,000 is expected to double by 2027. Between 2000 and 2007, it grew by 28 percent, according to recent estimates. In four or five years, it should have passed Roanoke to become the ninth-largest city in the state, and it won't be far behind Portsmouth for the No. 8 spot after that.
North Suffolk is developing into a hi-tech hub, but vast stretches elsewhere in the city are still largely rural. The city in 2005 was ranked third in the state for cotton production.
New restaurants, shops and historic preservation projects -- including refurbishing the 1922 Suffolk High School into the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts -- are revitalizing the old downtown.
The town of Suffolk was born in 1742 -- named after colonial Gov. William Gooch's home in Suffolk County, England.
Suffolk became a city in 1910. Then, in 1974, it consolidated with Nansemond County and the towns of Holland and Whaleyville -- forming the largest city in land area in Virginia and the 11th-largest in the country.
Suffolk's peanut legacy took root in 1912, when an Italian immigrant named Amedeo Obici moved to Suffolk and opened Planters Nut and Chocolate Company, now a part of Kraft Foods. Today, Suffolk remains a major peanut processing center and transportation hub.
Every fall, the city is home to the Suffolk Peanut Fest, a four-day event that features peanut-butter sculptures, carnival rides and entertainment.