History & Culture

Fort Monroe was designed by the French military engineer Brigadier General Simon Bernard, Fort Monroe (sometimes called
Fortress Monroe) was conceived as an element of the Third System of coastal defenses outlined by Congress in the aftermath of the War of 1812. Click here for more about the War of 1812 and Fort Monroe.


The history of Fort Monroe holds a vital link to a more complete understanding of freedom and equality in the United States.
Click here for more stories about Fort Monroe and its connection to social injustice on the landscape.

Virginia Historic Marker for the Old Point Comfort Light
Virginia Historical Highway Marker for the Old Point Comfort Light.

NPS Photo

The second oldest lighthouse built and oldest active light on the Chesapeake Bay, the Old Point Comfort Light has stood as a beacon since 1802. While seemingly unimposing and small compared with other impressive lights across the country the Old Point Comfort Light remains a beloved feature of Fort Monroe. The light was one of those seized by British forces during the War of 1812 and extinguished for a time during the British naval occupation and control
of much of Hampton Roads and parts of the Chesapeake Bay. Such were the lessons learned by these actions that the United States decided to build the current Fort Monroe on-site and incorporate it within a new and larger Third System of coastal defensive fortifications up and down the east coast.

Today the Old Point Comfort light remains a beacon guiding vessels into the mouth of Hampton Roads.
On days of foul and foggy weather the light's deep foghorn can easily be heard marking its presence
and offering reassurance and comfort.


Last updated: December 13, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

41 Bernard Road (Building #17, Lee's Quarters)
Fort Monroe, VA 23651-1001


757-722-FORT (3678)

Contact Us