Fort Monroe becomes newest NPS site

Aerial View of Fort MonroeFor the past six years, the future of the Fort Monroe seemed uncertain. Many feared that the Fort Monroe site would be turned into condominiums if the federal government did not step in to preserve area. In September, the army based that controlled the land shut down and the site fell into the hands of the state of Virginia.

Fort Monroe is famed for its Civil War history and was the prison where Confederate President Jefferson Davis served time at the end of the war. During the war, it was a safe haven for escaped slaves and the Union refused to turn slaves over to their former masters. However, Fort Monroe’s history predates its most famous time period. Constructed between 1819 and 1834, Fort Monroe provided strategic defense along Virginia’s coast.

“With the strong support of the people of Virginia, from the congressional delegation to Governor McDonnell to Mayor Ward and the citizens of Hampton, President Obama has ensured that this historic fort, a symbol of the long struggle for freedom for African Americans, will be preserved as a national park for generations to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.

The monument's first superintendent will be Kirsten Talken-Spaulding, a Virginia native. It is estimated that the designation will help create approximately 3,000 jobs for the area. Fort Monroe became the 22nd national park unit in the state of Virginia and the 396th nationwide.

Image Source: National Park Service.