Governor McDonnell: Please Don’t Build Houses on a Historic Civil War Site
In November 2011, President Obama declared Fort Monroe a national monument, honoring this critical military installation and the role it played as “Freedom’s Fortress” for thousands of enslaved African Americans who took refuge there during the Civil War. The monument designation, however, did not preserve the entire peninsula. The National Park Service manages the star-shaped fort and the natural beaches in the northeast part of the park site while the Commonwealth of Virginia manages the remaining land.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell will soon approve a Master Plan for future development at Fort Monroe. Recent press coverage has stated that the Master Plan will include selling as much property as possible at Fort Monroe to private interests. Citizens have overwhelmingly asked that the land that lies between the star-fort and the beaches be kept free of new buildings to one day unite the national monument with green space. The current Master Plan calls for this area, known as the Wherry Quarter, to become a private residential subdivision that would dominate the landscape and compromise the historic character of the area.
Surely we can keep a small amount of land free of private development in order to unite the historic fort and the beaches of Fort Monroe National Monument. There are plenty of places in Virginia to build housing—the state doesn’t need to encroach on a critical part of our Civil War history. If you value preserving the integrity of Fort Monroe, please send a message to Governor McDonnell. He will be approving the Master Plan soon—so please take a moment to share your comments today.
Learn more about the beauty and history of Fort Monroe by viewing the video below documenting this special place and the community efforts urging the governor to preserve the historic landscape.
-Pamela Goddard, Chesapeake and Virginia Program Manager