Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cape Henry Lighthouse

 Today we first stopped at Fort Story before visiting Virginia Beach. Fort Story is a military base that is home to a variety of U.S. Army and Naval Units.  It is also the location of the Cape Henry Lighthouse. The first one, pictured in the above picture, was made of stone and built in 1792. It is America's first federally funded lighthouse, and only one of nine federal octagonal lighthouses that survive today. I am proud to say that John and I climbed all 191 steps to its top. From there we had quite a panoramic view of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. From that spot we also had a good view of the second Cape Henry Lighthouse, which was built in 1881 and made of cast iron (the original one was made of stone taken from the same quarry which also provided the stone for Mount Vernon).
There is a small park located near the lighthouses. Located in the park is a cross which was placed there in 1935 as a reminder of the first oak cross erected near there in 1607 by the first settlers to America. It was a month later that those same settlers established Jamestown.
In the park there is also a statue honoring Francois Joseph de Grasse, the French naval commander who, by blockading English ships,  prevented General Cornwallis from receiving supplies and reinforcements at Yorktown. Cornwallis was then forced to surrender to General George Washington and America's independence from England was assured.

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