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Cape Henry Memorial

Cape Henry Memorial - BEST Placess to Picnic

Colonial National Historical Park
P.O. Box 210
Yorktown, Virginia 23690

(757) 898-3400
Visitor Information
(757) 898-2410

WELCOME to Cape Henry Memorial

HERE AT CAPE HENRY FIRST LANDED IN AMERICA, UPON 26 APRIL 1607, THOSE ENGLISH COLONISTS WHO, UPON 13 MAY 1607, ESTABLISHED AT JAMESTOWN VIRGINIA, THE FIRST PERMANENT ENGLISH SETTLEMENT IN AMERICA. Upon this inscription rest the granite cross erected by the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists on April 26, 1935, memorializing the wooden cross erected near this spot by the English colonist in 1607.

Cape Henry Memorial Cross

This cross commemorates the site where a wooden cross was erected by the early English settlers upon their safe arrival to Virginia in April of 1607. According to George Percy, one of the early settlers, "The nine and twentieth day we set up a cross at Chesupioc Bay, and named the place Cape Henry." Here, on the windswept sands, led by Reverend Robert Hunt, the colonists must have knelt in prayer giving thanks for this new land and their safe arrival.

Admiral Comte deGrasse

Just off the shores here at Cape Henry, on September 5, 1781, two mighty war fleets exchanged cannon shot for about 2 1/2 hours. It is only because of Admiral deGrasse, commander of the French fleet sent to support General George Washington, that the British were unable to relieve Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. This sea battle helped secure America's independence by assuring Cornwallis was trapped at Yorktown.

Three-way Interpretive Panel

This panel helps explain Cape Henry's strategic location in reference to two of America's most significant events, the landing of English settlers in April 1607 to establish the First Permanent English Colony at Jamestown and the Battle of the Capes which would lead to America's victory at Yorktown and the end of the American Revolutionary War.

Lighthouses at Cape Henry

Although not a part of the National Park system these two lighthouses have seen much history at Cape Henry. The octagonal tower of cut stone (right lighthouse in image) was the first lighthouse authorized by the Federal Government. It's construction began in 1791 and it was put into service in 1792. It served until 1881 when the checkered black and white lighthouse was built nearby. The cut stone lighthouse is a registered National Historic Landmark and is administered by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

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