NPS Centennial

The National Park Service turned 100 on August 25, 2016, and the entire year was quite a celebration! Throughout 2016, hundreds of millions of you ventured out to Find Your Park-learning, discovering, getting inspired, or simply having fun in national parks. Thank you for joining us!

The Find Your Park party will continue in 2017 as we invite you to continue your own journey to discover national parks and public lands. Share your stories at (and and with #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque on social media.

National parks across the system engaged in a variety of activities to prepare for and celebrate the centennial. Yorktown Battlefield Part of Colonial National Historical Park was a big part of this effort. Take a look at what we did and join us as the National Park Service enters a new century in 2017!


Call to Action Projects 

  • Hampton University Interns Research 1863 Contraband Community

    Jordan Smiley Presenting Slabtown Program

    During the 2012 and 2013 summer season; Hampton University History majors, Ryan Brookens and Jordon Smiley, interned at Colonial National Historical Park - Yorktown Battlefield through the Greening Youth Foundation. In addition to helping staff historic buildings and the information desk, they undertook primary research to discover how contraband slaves, settled into a community in 1863, on Confederate owned land, gained ownership of their property after the Civil War. Read more

  • Contraband Church Celebrates 150 years

    Speaker at podium, with American Flag over wayside, and others

    In 1863, when Union General Issac Wistar established a community for contraband on Yorktown's 1781 battlefield, Shiloh Baptist Church began. The park planned and participate with Shiloh's 150th homecoming event that included a march of the church members from their current location to their historic church site; the dedication of new waysides to tell the church's history; and a roll call of local U.S.C.Ts with flowers placed on the graves of those in the national cemetery. Read more

  • "I thought freedom was better than anything else" Contraband Robert Ruffin, Yorktown

    Dr. Ronald Butchart presenting program at symposium

    After the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, the Virginia Peninsula was under federal control. In 1863, when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the area was specifically excluded; yet thousands of contraband fleed to the Union garrison at Yorktown. "Contraband, Freedmen and Community," was a symposium held on July 20, 2013 that investigated the African American Experience in the Union occupied South during the Civil War. Read more

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Colonial National Historical Park - Yorktown Battlefield
P.O. Box 210

Yorktown , VA 23690


(757) 898-2410

Contact Us