Fort Monroe is an early 19th century stone fortress with moat located on Hampton Roads at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The 570-acre military post has served the nation as a coastal defense work and artillery school, and is active today as the home of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. Fort Monroe played a key role in hastening the end of slavery, as the first refuge for escaped “Contraband” slaves. Like Mount Vernon and Monticello, Fort Monroe is a one of our country’s 2,500 designated National Historic Landmarks.
In 2011, the Army will vacate Fort Monroe, pursuant to the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Fort Monroe will automatically revert to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Since 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has been intensively engaged in advocacy and historic preservation planning for Fort Monroe. The National Trust has participated as a member of the City of Hampton’s master plan steering committee and the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority’s historic preservation advisory group. We also participate as a consulting party to the Section 106 review process pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act, which is ably led by the Army and Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation and many others are working now to envision a bright future for Fort Monroe and to explore the most effective historic preservation strategies for the benefit of the public. To that end, the National Trust has joined with four statewide and national preservation organizations to express our shared perspective on the future of Fort Monroe. Our shared position is described in an April 18, 2008 letter to the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority from the National Trust, APVA – Preservation Virginia, Civil War Preservation Trust, and National Parks Conservation Association.
There is an active debate about the preservation of Fort Monroe. We welcome your comments on our shared letter and the future of Fort Monroe.
-- Rob Nieweg
Rob Nieweg is the Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Southern Field Office