Places to See in Hampton Roads
First Landing State Park
2500 Shore Drive
Virginia Beach, VA
Admission Fee Applies, (757)412-2300
The shores of First Landing were site of the British blockade during the War of 1812. Also, First Landing State Park was the site of many encounters between Virginia militia and the British soldiers during the conflict.
Fort Nelson Park/U.S. Naval Medical Center
(http://www.visitportsva.com/historicalsites.html) Adjacent to the Main Gate at the north end of Effingham Street
Free (Hospital closed to public, park open and free)
This was the site of Fort Nelson that was situated across the harbor from Fort Norfolk and protected the harbor and the shipyard. The park provides a walking tour of early American history.
801 Front Street
Fort Norfolk is the only fort from the War of 1812 in the Hampton Roads area that remains standing. During the War of 1812, the fort was one of the key defenses to Norfolk's inner harbor and sheltered the original USS Constellation, one of the first six ships commissioned by the United States Navy.
Gosport Park/Norfolk Naval Shipyard
(http://www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/norfolk/History/Home.aspx) First Street, Port Center Parkway and Lincoln Street
Free (Shipyard is closed to public, park open and free)
Gosport Park provides a walking tour of American Naval History. Gosport Shipyard was established in 1767 by Andrew Sprowle, confiscated by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1776, purchased by the United States in 1801, and served as homeport to the USS Constellation throughout the War of 1812. Dry Dock #1 and Quarters A at Norfolk Naval Yard are on the National Historical Register.
Hampton History Museum
120 Old Hampton Lane
Hampton, VA 23669
Admission Fee Applies, (757) 727-1610
The lighthouse at Fort Monroe was captured and used by the British during the War of 1812. Fort Monroe was also the site of the British encampment following the Battle of Hampton.
Hampton Roads Naval Museum
(http://www.hrnm.navy.mil/) 1 Waterside Drive (2nd floor of Nauticus)
The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is an accredited museum operated by the United States Navy that celebrates the 234 years history of the fleet in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. The museum has models of USS Chesapeake (captured in the war) and USS Constellation (blockaded in Hampton Roads in the war). It also features a musket such as the type used at the Battle of Craney Island, two models of US Navy gunboats from that battle, and an 18-pounder cannon similar to the ones used on the frigate USS Constellation and the Battle of Craney Island.
Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve
(http://www.hofflercreek.org/) 4510 Twin Pines Road,
This beautiful preserve is the site of the British invasion on June 22, 1813 headed to attack Craney Island, a mere two miles west. A historical marker designates the site.
Moses Myers House (1792)
(http://www.chrysler.org/Myers_house.asp) 323 East Freemason St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
Free, 757- 333-1087
The Myers house was the home of Virginia Militia Officer John Myers during the War of 1812. Myers had several vessels and cargoes seized by both French and British navies prior to War of 1812. Eldest son John Myers attained the rank of major during the war, serving as aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Robert Taylor, commander of the American forces in Hampton Roads from 1813-1814. He was present at the Battle of Craney Island, and delivered Taylor's written protest over the burning of Hampton to British Admiral Sir John Warren. Military effects of members of the family pertaining to the war are on display, including John Myers' sword and a musket.
Norfolk Police and Fire Rescue Museum
401 E Freemason Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
The Norfolk Police Department, established in 1797, is one of the oldest in the United States and has enjoyed an illustrious history of service. The Norfolk Police Museum, established in 1919, is the oldest museum in Norfolk. Its purpose is to document and preserve the history of NPD and those who have served the department. On display are extensive exhibits of early photographs, uniforms, badges, patches, firearms, handcuffs and other equipment used by the police department from its inception until now, something for everyone. Also, the Museum maintains a permanent memorial to our fallen officers.
Old Cape Henry Lighthouse (http://www.apva.org/OldCapeHenryLighthouse/) 583 Atlantic Avenue
Fort Story, Virginia
Admission Fee Applies, 757-422-9421
The lighthouse was turned off during the War of 1812 when a large British force blockaded the entire bay. Throughout the war, British raiding parties would land and raid local houses and businesses. Old Cape Henry Lighthouse was no exception and in 1813; "a band of veterans from the British squadron landed at the lighthouse… attacked the pantry and smokehouse of the keeper, and captured his hams, minced pies, and sausages after which they returned, with flying colors to their ships" Niles Weekly, Feb. 1813
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum
(http://www.portsnavalmuseums.com/about_naval.html) #2 High Street, High Street Landing
Admission Fee Applies, 757-393-8591
Opening on June 9 and running through August 11, a special 1812 display of the sword, belt buckle, signed letter, and portrait of USS Constitution Commodore, Charles Morris has been made possible by a loan from Tidewater Community College.The items are from the Julian K. and George E. Roosevelt Nautical Collection, Dr. Alan B. Flanders, History Faculty, TCC, Norfolk. The Elizabeth River Ferry docks here and offers a ten-minute ride every half hour to downtown Norfolk. There is a gift shop and docents are available to discuss the historical significance of featured exhibits. Naval Shipyard Museum interprets the fascinating history of America's oldest and largest naval shipyard and the community in which it is located. One of the five major exhibits at the museum deals with the War of 1812.
Sargeant Memorial Room at Norfolk Main Library
235 E. Plume St
Features primary- and secondary-source materials for War of 1812 research include period newspapers, maps, books and manuscripts. The room also contains a genealogical collection for finding War of 1812 ancestors. The Sargeant Memorial Room is located on the third floor of Norfolk Main Library.
The Mariner's Museum (http://www.marinersmuseum.org/) 100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
Admission Fee Applies, 757- 596-2222
For over seventy-five years, the history of the ocean and its relationship with humankind has been told and displayed in one of the largest maritime museums in the world. The museum features a War of 1812 display which includes paintings, weaponry, and a full-scale replica of the hull of a 19th century sailing ship.
The Norfolk History Museum at the Willoughby-Baylor House (1794)
(http://www.chrysler.org/WB_house.asp) 601 East Freemason St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
Built by housing developer William Willoughby in 1794, this townhouse occupies the site of an earlier Masonic lodge that gave Freemason Street its name. Among the locations and events highlighted in the museum's exhibitions are the story of Commodore James Barron and the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, the Little Belt Affair, Ft. Norfolk, and the Battle of Craney Island. Objects on display include an early 19th century British naval cannon and the pistols used by James Barron in his 1820 duel with naval hero Stephen Decatur.
Virginia Living Museum
524 J. Clyde Morris Blv. (Exit 258A from I-64)
Newport News, VA 23601
Admission Fee Applies, (757)595-1900
Our state’s natural heritage is the star at the Virginia Living Museum. It is here that visitors today can see the same native animals and plants those who fought in the War of 1812 might have seen: red wolves, bald eagles, loggerhead sea turtles, fish, frogs and more! Living exhibits depict Virginia’s natural heritage from the mountains to the sea, including a cypress swamp and a mountain cove.
Virginia War Museum
9285 Warwick Blvd.
Newport News, VA
Admission Fee Applies, 757-247-8523
The War of 1812 exhibit tells the story of the second American Revolution through artifacts and art work. See the uniform of Moses Myers, who raised a local militia, along with swords, muskets, and other military items that relate to the soldier. A large painting entitled “The Battle of Lake Erie” provides a colorful depiction of that famous battle. Model lovers will enjoy the USS CHESAPEAKE ship, reportedly made of wood from the original frigate.