Fort Norfolk is the last remaining of 19 harbor-front forts authorized in 1794 by President George Washington.
Stepping through the fort's arched entryway transports visitors to another era. The fort's four-acre site overlooks the Elizabeth River and includes earthwork embankments, ramparts, a dungeon, officers' quarters, powder magazine, barracks, and guardhouse. Most structures in the fort date to 1810.
The fort helped protect Norfolk during the War of 1812. In the Civil War, Confederate forces seized the fort and used its magazine to supply the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) during its battle with the USS Monitor. In 1862 the fort was recaptured by the Union Army and used as a prison. Later it was an ordnance depot for the Navy. In 1923 the fort was occupied by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which still owns Fort Norfolk. The Norfolk Historical Society began making restorations to the fort in 1991.
The fort is located in the Ghent section of Norfolk at 801 Front Street. Enter the fort through the Southampton Ave. gate. Admission is free and self-guided tours are available during the week.