Trace Newport News, Virginia’s History along the Founders’ Trail

09/03/2009  |  SUZANNE PEARSON
educational travel

Your students can walk in the footsteps of history when they experience the all-new 12 sites located on Founders’ Trail in Newport News, Virginia. Historical markers with period photographs link these 17th-century sites.   Among the many stories told are those of Captain John Smith, who named Mulberry Island; John Rolfe, husband of Pocahontas and Captain Christopher Newport, who led the three-ship English fleet that landed in Jamestown in 1607.

Other sites showcased are the oldest brick structure in Newport News, the Matthew Jones House, begun in 1690; the site of the home of Miles Cary II, the first Rector of what is today the College of William and Mary and the site of Stanley Hundred, the town founded by Sir George Yeardley, governor of Virginia from 1619 to 1621 and from 1626 to 1627.

The city’s name also dates to the 17th century. The first reference to “Newportes Newes” (with eight different spellings), appears in the Virginia Company’s records in 1619, making it the oldest English place name of any city in the New World.

More “first person” history awaits your student group in Newport News. Endview Plantation and Lee Hall Mansion played a major role in the Civil War’s 1862 Peninsula Campaign, while the James A. Fields House and The Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center focus on late 19th- and early 20th-century history. These four restored historic homes offer your students entertaining and enlightening personal stories with guided docent tours.

Hands-on history comes to life at The Mariners’ Museum’s USS Monitor Center. One of the premier Civil War attractions in the country, it is the perfect place to re-live the historic clash between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia. This dramatic 63,500-square-foot facility will captivate your students with exciting exhibits. They can walk the deck of a full-scale replica of the USS Monitor, try their hand at maneuvering a sailing frigate in battle, build their own virtual ironclad, and much more!

For more information about the new Founders’ Trail and other student-oriented itineraries, contact Trista Attoh, group tour marketing manager with the Newport News Tourism Development Office, 888-493-7386, or by e-mail at [email protected] Request a complimentary copy of the Founders’ Trail brochure and our new Group Planner and get a head start on planning your student trip!
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