Author, historian and former Hampton History Museum curator J Michael Cobb shares the fascinating story of Fort Wool, its history, and what lies ahead for the future of the venerable fortress, as part of the Hampton History Museum’s Port Hampton Lecture Series on August 5, 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

A familiar site to commuters crossing the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, Fort Wool, originally named Fort Calhoun, has been a patriotic symbol of freedom since its construction in 1819. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, Fort Wool is a visible landmark at the gateway to Hampton Roads. Like Fort Monroe, it is an important asset of Hampton, the Commonwealth, and the nation. A unique site tells the history of America following the War of 1812 through World War II. Enslaved men took part in the building of Fort Wool. Robert E. Lee oversaw construction of the fortification. Andrew Jackson governed America for extended periods from the island. Fort Wool took part in the epic Civil War Battle of the “Monitor” and “Virginia.” Abraham Lincoln watched the attempt to capture Norfolk from the ramparts of Fort Wool; and Fort Wool was part of the Chesapeake Bay defenses during World War II. It continued to serve until the Army decommissioned it in the 1970s. Cobb is spearheading plans to renovate the fort.

J. Michael Cobb served as curator for the Hampton History Museum for 31 years. He was responsible for renovating and reopening Fort Wool to the public in the 1980s. He holds a master’s degree in American studies from the College of William and Mary and has authored "Fort Wool: Star-Spangled Banner Rising" and co-authored "The Battle of Big Bethel: Crucial Clash in Early Civil War Virginia."

Hampton History Museum

The talk is free for museum members and $5.00 for non-members.

The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Lane in Downtown Hampton. There is free parking in the garage across the street from the museum. For more information call 757-727-1102 or visit www.HamptonHistoryMuseum.org.

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