Friday, August 19, 2011
Seems Like a No-Brainer To Me
Advocates want President Obama to make Fort Monroe, a stone fortress guarding Hampton Roads in Virginia, a National Monument.
The fort has a lot of history to it. The article points out that slavery in the Americas both began and ended in the Hampton Roads area. Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned there after the Civil War. Edgar Allan Poe and Robert E. Lee have both been stationed there.
It's owned by the US Army, but is being closed as part of the base closing cycle as a money-saving measure. As a National Monument adjacent to a major metropolitan area it could generate tourism dollars, presumably.
I visited the fort several times during my Navy days. I enjoyed hiking along the top ramparts, where you could view ships entering Hampton Roads and read the tombstones of departed pets - - the ramparts were used as a pet cemetery by the Army personnel. Part of the fort is already a dedicated museum, featuring displays on the battle between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, the fort's history with the US Army and Coastal Artillery, and the cell that housed Jefferson Davis after the Civil War, where you can see some of his personal possessions, including a beautiful meerschaum pipe.
Here's a pic of the fort: