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Lots of memories

A lot of memories at Fort Monroe. My mother, Mildred Cahoon (Millie), retired from Civil Service there having worked many years in the A.G. Printing Plant building adjacent to the marina. Growing up, she was able to take my sister and me to the outdoor pool at the Chamberlin. I played many pick-up basketball games at the Y.M.C.A., played tennis and soccer at the Fort, went to the beach, toured the Casemate Museum and the Coast Artillery emplacements, watched July 4th fireworks, attended an Army National Guard function at the Officer’s Club, and attended a wedding reception at the Chamberlin. My father taught me to swim in the Chamberlin’s indoor pool. Great memories, all.

Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center

Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center

African Arrival Commemoration and Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center Dedication

To commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English North America, the 2019 Commemoration presents a ceremony with hosts Fort Monroe Authority (FMA) and the National Park Service (NPS). The Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center project involves the renovation of the former Coast Artillery School Library at Fort Monroe and the addition of two wings. The galleries will tell the profound stories of Captain John Smith, the arrival of the first enslaved Africans and the culmination of 242 years of slavery as the first contrabands came to Fort Monroe to receive their emancipation. Additional activities at Fort Monroe during the weekend will include a remembrance ceremony, historical tours, cultural demonstrations, and a concert.

LEARN MORE

Dominion Energy is the presenting partner of the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center.

Click below to download the 1/26/17 presentation.

VISITOR CENTER OVERVIEW CULTURAL LANDSCAPE GALLERY

 

FREEDOM'S FORTRESS GALLERY 1/26/17 PRESENTATION

 

Memories of and hopes for Fort Monroe

August 23-25, 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in North America.

They arrived at Fort Monroe, Virginia, a place where I lived in junior high. Our house was inside the moat. I loved climbing the hill behind my house and looking at the moat. It was the only fort left in the U.S. that actually had water in its moat. I used to walk through the sally port and across the pedestrian bridge (in the photo by B.Payden Photography), unless, of course, my big brother was chasing me on our way to the school bus! Check out Payden’s Photography at:
https://bpaydenphotography.wordpress.com/category/history/fort-monroe/

Now, my 60-year-old memories are changed forever by this knowledge of the beginnings of European enslavement of Africans in the New World. I am deeply sorry to all those who were affected by this gruesome time in our history.

And I look forward to ongoing future commemorations honoring the many roles African men and women filled in building America—clearing the land, tilling the plantations, harvesting the crops, building the structures, developing solutions to difficult problems the new world presented, and so much more.

My hope is that their stories, along with stories of privation of the African population, will be told in American history classes across the country, so we will all have a deeper understanding of our history. And a commitment Never Again to Allow It Happen.

Special Memories of a Special Time

My first and only son was born in the hospital on Ft. Monroe in 1963. My husband had just shipped out suddenly for Germany and I was left to transport myself from our apartment in Hampton to the fort hospital as I went into labor the next day after his leaving. Needless to say this left unforgettable memories of Ft. Monroe. That was one of the most enjoyable posts that we lived on in our 26 years of service and I am looking forward to again visiting Ft. Monroe this autumn.

My Favorite Place on earth ..and I have traveled extensively.

My history began when my mother would drive me along the seawall IN UTERO ..1937 and those adventures continued throughout my childhood and until I attended the decommissioning of my BELOVED and “sacred” Fort Monore, VA. I took some of my first steps around The Gazebo, then known as The Bandstand, held my first federal job at age 17 in 1954 the Civ Pers Ofc, and advanced to Post Engineers u leaving in 1968. I met my husband of 62 years while he was stationed there we, as full time RVers, camped at The Colonies where we were on 9/11, my husband had a heart attack at The Colonies in 2001 and so much more. I was working in Post Engineers the calls during the infamous PIGEON infestation and also worked during the Ash Wednesday Storm which was a sight to behold from the second story window of The Post Engineer Building. My history goes back 82 years and has left profound and unprecedented memories of both the military and civilian venues at Fort Monroe, Virginia.

My Favorite Home as a Child

I loved living on Ft. Monroe. We lived on post at 96 Ingalls Rd. from 1978-1981, which included the last year Ft. Monroe Elementary School was open. I loved walking or biking around the moat to the school; getting on the bus to go to Bassett for two years was not nearly as much fun. We spent a lot of time at the Scout Hut for Girl Scouts and at the Casemate Museum, where my mom was a docent. My favorite place on post by far was the band gazebo and sea wall by the Chamberlain Hotel. I used to walk down there to watch ships come in and go out, especially from Norfolk Naval Station. If I could tolerate the summers, I’d find a way to move back to Ft. Monroe when I retire—not to relive my childhood, but to keep building experiences in an amazing place full of history.

BUT: even though I had 4th grade Virginia history in a classroom 1/4 mile down the coast from Old Point Comfort (if that), I was in my 30s before I discovered its link to the sale and purchase of human beings in the slave trade. I consider that a sad commentary on our inability to address the worst aspects of our American heritage.

Great place to work

Early in our marriage my husband and I lived in Newport News (1975), he worked at the shipyard and I later found a job at Fort Monroe. Even though I only worked there for a short time (I found out I was pregnant with our son), I was excited to be able to say that I worked in the fort. I had visited the fort and liked the casemates. The office where I worked was inside the moated area and I remember having to drive over a small narrow bridge to get there. Also we spent an early anniversary at the Chamberlain Hotel. We loved their indoor salt water pool! My father was stationed for a short time at Fort Monroe early in my parents’ marriage too.