Fort Algernoune, 1609 Celebration & Conference To Commemorate the 400th Anniversary of Anglo-America’s First Coastal Fortification

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Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority to host Fort Algenoune celebration and conference, featuring seminars, tours, and lectures by world-renowned scholars.

Fort Algernoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia's Maritime Rim

This October 16-18, 2009, the Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority (FMFADA) will host “Fort Algernoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia’s Maritime Rim,” a celebration and conference commemorating the 400th anniversary of Anglo-America’s first coastal fortification. Taking place at various sites on Fort Monroe, the headquarters for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, the event will feature national lecturers and speakers, as well as optional activities such as a visit to Fort Wool and a ride on the Miss Hampton II harbor cruise boat.

In 1609, “Algernoune Fort,” the first coastal defense fortification in Anglo America, was constructed at Old Point Comfort to guard approaches to Jamestown colony and the Chesapeake Bay. “Fort Algernoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia’s Maritime Rim,” presents an outstanding panel of scholars who will encourage conference participants to consider how the maritime rim of colonial Virginia developed an egalitarian and culturally diverse society different from its Jamestown neighbor.

The celebration begins at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 16, with an Army Retreat Ceremony on Fort Monroe’s parade ground, home to the ancient Algernoune Live Oak. The event will include a US Citizen Naturalization ceremony, with a reception at the Casemate Museum immediately following. Participants will have an opportunity to view the museum’s new historical exhibit on Fort Algernoune.

On Saturday, October 17, a symposium on how the maritime rim of colonial Virginia developed will be held at The Chamberlin.

The weekend wraps on Sunday, October 18 with several optional choices for conference attendees, including an elegant Sunday brunch at the restored 1928 Chamberlin dining room overlooking the Hampton Roads harbor and two optional tours. The tours consist of a Miss Hampton II harbor excursion to Fort Wool or a land tour of Fort Boykin and other historic sites along the James River.

The “Fort Algenoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia’s Maritime Rim,” schedule is as follows:

Friday, October 16, 2009

4:00 p.m. Army Retreat and US Citizen Naturalization Ceremony, Parade Ground, Fort Monroe

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Reception: Fort Algernoune Exhibit Opening, Casemate Museum, Fort Monroe

Saturday, October 17, 2009 • Chamberlin, Fort Monroe

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. James Whittenburg—William R. Pullen Chair, Department of History, College of William & Mary
Welcome and Introduction

10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. William M. Kelso, Director of Archaeology, Historic Jamestowne Rediscovery Archaeological Project, Preservation Virginia
“Imagining Fort Algernoune, ‘Yames Towne’ and ‘a delicate and necessary seat for a city’”

10:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Ivor Noël Hume, OBE ,Research Associate (hon.) Smithsonian Institution
“Ralegh to Algernoune: Two Lost Forts”

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Camilla Townsend, Professor of History, Rutgers University
“Mutual Appraisals: The Shifting Paradigms of the Spanish, English and Powhatans in Tsenacomoco, 1570-1610”

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Luncheon

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. David Harris Sacks, Richard F. Scholz Professor of History, Reed College
“International trade and the beginnings of Virginia: Market exchange ‘at first hand,’1550-1624”

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Break

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. James Horn, Vice President of Research and Historical Interpretation, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
“Peopling Fort Algernoune: The Social Background of the Immigrants”

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Silver Professor of History, New York University
“FortAlgernoune: Virginia’s Gateway to the Atlantic”

3:45 p.m. - 4:15p.m. James Whittenburg, Summary and Discussion

4:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Self-Guided tours of FortMonroe

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Reception, Hampton History Museum, downtown Hampton

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Optional: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Sunday Brunch at the Chamberlin (reservations required—757-637-7200)

Optional: FortWool (boat tour) led by Michael Cobb, Curator, Hampton History Museum
10:00 a.m.     Board the Miss Hampton at the Hampton Public Piers, located next to the Crown Plaza Marina Hotel, for the three-hour tour. After the British navy roamed the American coast almost at will during the Revolution and the War of 1812, the U.S. Government erected two impressive fortifications to defend the entrance to Virginia’s Hampton Roads harbor, situated between the mouth of the James River and the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay. Fort Monroe, North America’s largest moated fort, was constructed (1819-1834) on Old Point Comfort, and across the channel a companion, FortWool.

Optional: Fort Boykin (bus tour) led by John Quarstein, Historian, City of Hampton
10:00 a.m. Depart from the Crown Plaza Marina Hotel parking lot for the three-hour tour. Dating to 1623, Fort Boykin is one of the oldest fortifications in America. Captain Robert Smyth was commissioned to construct a fort to protect the colonists against“Spaniards by sea and Indians by land.”The steep cliff and its commanding view of the James River made the present site of Fort Boykin ideal. Smyth christened the fort “The Castle.” The fort was altered during the War of 1812 and the CivilWar.This excursion will include St.Luke’s Church (1632 Gothic architecture) and Fort Huger (1862). Participants will get a very nice view of the original James Fort site as well as the reconstructed fort.

**Each visitor entering For Monroe MUST have a government issued picture ID. Each vehicle must have a valid registration. If using a rental car, one must present their rental agreement.

For more information on “Fort Algenoune, 1609: Colonial Virginia’s Maritime Run,” interested parties are encouraged to contact Joan Baker at 757/637-7778 or For those who prefer internet, check out The cost of the conference is $50 and includes lunch on Saturday, October 17. Optional tours are $25 per person.

Sponsors for this year’s conference include the Port Hampton History Foundation, Fort Monroe Federal Area Development Authority (FMFADA), US Army Garrison Fort Monroe, US Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services, Wythe W. Holt Family, City of Hampton 2010 Anniversary Committee, Old Point National Bank, Hampton History Museum, and Phoebus Improvement League.


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