Fort Monroe to become a national park
Published: November 1, 2011
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama this morning designated former Army base Fort Monroe as a national monument, saying the move will preserve an important piece of American history and help bring new jobs to Virginia.
About 570 acres of the base, closed last month, would be set aside in a historic landmark district. Plans call for the preservation of the majority of the buildings left on the base and related improvements to create a full national park there, the 22nd in Virginia and 396th nationwide.
That work is expected to create up to 3,000 jobs for the local economy, although White House officials did not say how soon the work may begin. The base was shut down as part of the 2005 Base Closure and Relocation process.
In a statement, Obama said the base “played a part in some of the darkest and some of the most heroic moments in American history.”
Fort Monroe, built between 1819 and 1834 in Hampton, was a strategic coastal defensive position in the earliest days of the Virginia colony, and was the first location where Dutch traders brought enslaved Africans to America. But during the Civil War, the Union outpost became critical refuge for escaped slaves fleeing the South.