Hampton, Virginia is located in the southeast part of the state and is considered an independent city because it is not part of any specific county. Situated on the the Virginia Peninsula's southeastern end, the city of Hampton is among the 7 major cities that make up the Hampton Roads metropolitan area.
Hampton is located on the Hampton Roads Beltway and is home to the HRBT or the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel situated on Interstate 64. This particular bridge-tunnel serves as the gateway to Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean from the eastern United States and its tributary rivers. It was first opened during the year 1957 and was the world's very first bride-tunnel. This gateway is the largest ice-free harbor within the US. The HRBT was expanded in the 1970s. Even today, this particular facility is the deepest and the busiest in Virginia.
Hampton traces its origins back to the early part of the 1600s and is considered to be among the earliest communities within the US. Before the Civil War, the city of Hampton was a quiet trading post. The area became in the middle of the conflict when in 1861, the Confederate army burned it to the ground, in an attempt to stop Union troops from taking over the town. Out of the remains left after that, former slaves who were under a degree of Union protection, constructed the Grand Contraband Camp. This camp was the very first self-contained African American community in the United States.
During 1952, Hampton received city status after a municipal consolidation. This consolidation resulted in the City of Hampton incorporating the boundaries of an area formerly referred to as Elizabeth City County.
There is a huge variety of stuff to do and see within Hampton. The area encompasses a large selection of cultural, recreational and historical attractions. Like for example, The Virginia Air & Space Center is the official visitor center for NASA's Langley Research Center. Tourists could truly enjoy a virtual reality video on the pioneers of flying in a state-of-the-art set up. They could also see the Apollo 12 Command Capsule that went to the moon.
The Hampton University Museum is located on amongst the oldest African-American universities in the US. Initially, the University was the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Their goal was to educate black men and women who were set free and teach them trades and skills after the Civil War ended. Furthermore, the site is the place where Lincoln read his Emancipation Proclamation and is referred to as Emancipation Oak.
The Hampton History Museum, located in the downtown core, provides the history of the city. There are many costumed interpreters their to re-enact exhibits, helping to give context and significance to the exhibits. A different famous tourist attraction is the Casemate Museum located at Fort Monroe. This is the biggest stone fort ever to be constructed within the country. The Museum chronicles the role of the Fort during the Civil War and is one of the main attractions. It also contains the cell that imprisoned Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President.
One more downtown location is the Charles H. Taylor Arts Center. This structure was constructed in 1925 and served as the public library for Hampton for over sixty years. The building has gone through significant restoration and renovation. It now presents changing exhibitions of the best regional, national and local artists.