Yesterday, for the first time during his presidency, President Obama used the Antiquities Act to add a new unit to the National Park System. The Antiquities Act (signed in 1906 by Roosevelt) allows the President, by executive order, to create a new national monument. On Tuesday, November 1st, with just the stroke of his pen, President Obama created the Fort Monroe National Monument in Virginia.
Fort Monroe, located on the tip of the Virginia peninsula, was completed in 1834. Fort Monroe was incredibly important during the Civil War and was one of the few areas of Virginia that remained under Union control. As such, the fort was also a symbol of freedom for slaves during the Civil War. Fort Monroe was closed on September 15th, 2011 and it’s future was uncertain. However, now the history and cultural significance of Fort Monroe will be protected under the Antiquities Act and managed by the National Park Service as another one of our nations jewels.