Cornell Property




127.63 acres

Date Recorded/Protected:


Property Facts:

The Cornell Property, owned by George and Phyllis Cornell, is located in Suffolk, VA, and contains approximately 127.63 acres in a city that has rapidly developed and continues to rapidly develop. The property is comprised of marsh timberland, significant wetlands, non-tidal wetland habitat, springs and streams that provide habitat for a multitude of wildlife species, and a working nursery stock tree farm.

The property borders the Nansemond River near its confluence with the Lower James River for approximately 1,700 feet and Bennett Creek on its eastern boundary for approximately 1,575 feet.

Protection of the Cornell Property helps to protect the water quality of Bennett Creek, the Nansemond River, the James River (including that portion nominated for designation as a Virginia Scenic River pursuant to the Virginia Outdoors Plan) and the Chesapeake Bay.

The Property lies in the Lower James River watershed and drains into the James River and then the Chesapeake Bay, which watershed falls under the protection of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act.

The portion of the Nansemond River on which the Property lies is part of the James River Heritage Trail that is used and enjoyed by the public on a regular basis.

Bennetts Pasture Road (State Route 627) runs through the Property for approximately 1,285 feet and preservation of the natural and open space character of the Property will protect a scenic and rural view for the driving public.

The property is located just north of the Nansemond National Wildlife Refuge on the Nansemond River.

Landowner Story:

“You can see how you can become attached to a place in seventy years.” –George Cornell

The first generation of Cornells to live at Eagle Point arrived in 1946. “Papa Cornell” spent the summer renovating the then primitive property for his wife and their eight-year-old son George. George has many fond memories of exploring the rivers, groves and farmland on the property. One thing he figured would make his childhood even more exciting was a pool. When George asked his father about getting a pool, he told George to grab a shovel and get busy digging. This is what George did, spending his summers in the backyard with the dirt and a wheelbarrow. After several years, he finished the project his senior summer and got a good two months use out of the pool.

George grew up and moved to Charlottesville to pursue higher education at the University of Virginia. He didn’t anticipate returning to Eagle Point, but was pulled back to care for his aging parents. He admits he allowed himself to be drawn back to the property and that he shares his parents’ love of the land. “The land was in their DNA,” he states.

Eagle Point has its name for a reason. The property provides habitat for several endangered/threatened species (including Bald Eagles, Peregrine Falcon and Piping Plover) and lays three miles North of the Nansemond Wildlife Refuge and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The property borders over 3,000 feet of water on the Nansemond River and Bennett’s Creek.

Over 50 years later, George is still digging holes on Eagle Point. His most recent project was the creation of a finished basement playroom for a younger generation of Cornells. George hollowed out a basement space with a shovel and wheelbarrow until it was large enough to be turned into a functional room. He still feels a deep connection to the land and loves working in it. Another recent addition to the house is a solar panel to power the couple’s electric car.
Over the years, countless developers have approached George and Phyllis, with promises of great rewards and plans to fit 400 houses on the property. Thankfully the Cornell’s forward thinking attitudes assure that the basement, bald eagles and wetlands will be on this property for years to come.