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Fort Monroe possibilities

December 30, 2012—Letters to the Editor

I attended the Dec. 13 Fort Monroe Authority public board meeting and learned that a final decision on the fort’s Master Plan would be made during the summer of 2013. Two more public meetings will be held before the governor has to approve. Therefore, I was quite surprised to read in a recent letter to the editor that Scott Butler of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park and a vocal green Wherry Quarter advocate, wrote that the planners recommended the Wherry Park option as the “best choice” for Fort Monroe. After double checking, I was correct. The planners have merely narrowed their choices down from five to three options, to include Wherry Park. Coincidentally, the “no development” Wherry Park option is the most “costly choice” for the Virginia taxpayer, with an approximately 4.8 million dollar deficit annually.

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Charting Fort Monroe’s path through other closed bases

By Robert Brauchle, | 757-247-2827

December 27, 2012

ROME, N.Y. — On a sunny November morning, a dozen or so passenger jets are parked like cars at a repair shop on the tarmac at Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

With a wing missing here, and a tail missing there, these passenger jets are being repaired and overhauled by companies specializing in such services.

The operators of the former Griffiss Air Force Base have found a path toward prosperity in the two-mile runway used by B-52 bombers during the Cold War.

There was no cookie-cutter approach to redeveloping the 3,500-acre base or simple outline for success, said Steve DiMeo, president of the Griffiss Local Development Corp., the group overseeing the property’s redevelopment.

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Remaining Wherry building could become bath house

One-story brick building had been slated for demolition

By Robert Brauchle, | 757-247-2827

December 26, 2012

HAMPTON — A lone Wherry housing apartment building originally scheduled to be demolished in December will remain standing and could be renovated into a bath house.

Building 300 is a single-story duplex built on Fort Monroe in the early 1950s. The brick veneer building was saved from demolition because it could be renovated to serve visitors to the property, Fort Monroe Authority Executive Director Glenn Oder said.HAMPTON — A lone Wherry housing apartment building originally scheduled to be demolished in December will remain standing and could be renovated into a bath house.

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Looking for lessons in a Massachusetts mill town Lowell National Historical Park an example of public/private cooperation

Fort Monroe planners are still trying to decide whether a trolley or water taxi can be used to help visitors get around the property.

By Robert Brauchle, | 757-247-2827

December 26, 2012

The Lowell Historic National Monument visitors center sits on a busy downtown street. The visitors center includes displays and a movie theater explaining Lowell’s past.

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Lessons for Fort Monroe at Fort Stanwix: An urban national monument

Fortification has been on protected land since the 1970s

By Robert Brauchle, | 757-247-2827

December 24, 2012

A service ranger walks past Fort Stanwix in Rome, NY. Source: Robert Brauchle

The fort in New York’s Mohawk Valley kept hostile British troops and Native Americans away from the colony’s towns and cities and allowed the government to monitor and tax trappers and travelers heading west.ROME, N.Y. — Soldiers standing guard at the rural outpost of Fort Stanwix in the 1770s spent countless hours peering through the wood battlements at tall grass and shrubs, searching for signs of friend and foe.

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Where does the future of Fort Monroe lie? Local officials are looking to other regions for ideas and lessons

By Robert Brauchle, | 757-247-2827

December 23, 2012

HAMPTON — With an afternoon available between workshops during an October conference in Phoenix, Ariz., Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting joined a bus tour of the former Williams Air Force Base in nearby Mesa.

A few weeks earlier, Fort Monroe Authority Executive Director Glenn Oder motored through the rolling hills of the former Devens Air Force Base in Massachusetts, inspecting the property’s housing stock.

The Fort Monroe Authority will enter 2013 close to having a master plan in hand, but progress toward converting the property from a military base into a civilian community will likely take years. Hoping to learn from the experiences of other regions that have been through base closures, area officials are looking to former military and historic sites to chart a path for Fort Monroe.

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Bill’s Story

I grew up on Ft. Monroe. Learned to swim at the Officer’s Club pool, walked the Casemate, watched the fireworks and listened to the cannons at Fourth of July. I remember stopping every night on the way off post. We’d stand next to the car and listen as Taps played and the colors were struck – feeling awash in awe, wonder and pride. It’s where many of my happiest and most indelible memories were made. It’s where I learned the importance of family, friends and service. Read more

National Park Service


Ask anyone and they’ll tell you something magical happens when you cross over the bridge onto Fort Monroe. Nearly 200 people attended the very first National Park Service Ranger-led tour of the Fort back in March. Hundreds more enjoyed the living history programming done in collaboration with the Fort Monroe Authority throughout the summer. The park commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with a unique series of trading cards and the Casemate Museum is the “go to place” to get the cards, attend a special program or get the Fort Monroe National Monument passport stamp.

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