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Quarters 1 (at Fort Monroe), Hampton County, Virginia

[photo] Quarters 1

Quarters 1 is a grand residence on the base of Fort Monroe. Built in 1819 for the commanding officer, it is probably the oldest housing now in the Army and is a beautiful example of a Federal style residence and features elegant styling and details. The most elegant features of the house is the staircase, which rises from the second-floor entry hall in an elliptical curve of elegant proportions, and an oval dome in the ceiling. It is painted sky-blue and ornamented with twenty-seven gold stars. The porches, with their carpenter Gothic railings, were added during the last quarter of the 19th century and reflect the developing architectural styles later used at Fort Monroe. This architectural beauty remains surprisingly unchanged in its 190 years, and while the function of the building has changed over the years, the distinguished interiors of Quarters 1 survives essentially as a residence and headquarters for Fort Monroe's commanding officer.

Besides architectural significance, Quarters 1 is witness to important American and military history. During the Civil War Major General Benjamin Butler made his “Contraband of War” declaration of 1861 while an occupant of Quarters 1. Quarters 1 also served as the rendezvous point for Union generals and President Abraham Lincoln to plan the strategy for the Peninsula and other war campaigns. Other famous guests include Robert E. Lee and Marquis de Lafayette.

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