In 1896, the construction of the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal intersected a small portion of the battlefield. A century later, in the mid 1990s, plans for replacement of the bridge across the canal by the US Army Corps of Engineers provided the final opportunity to reclaim and preserve a major portion of the original battlefield. The urgency of preserving the battle site prompted the City of Chesapeake to write an Historic Preservation Plan in 1996, stating that the greatest threats to the battlefield would be transportation improvements caused by urban development and redevelopment of vacant properties. The National Park Service has also listed the Great Bridge Battlefield and Waterways site as an historical site in need of immediate and direct preservation measures by state and local governments and organizations. Without direct assistance, this historical site may not survive, removing an important source of public education and commerce within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
It was to save this irreplaceable piece of American history that on December 9, 1999, the 224th anniversary of the battle, a dedicated group of citizens formed The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to preserving the battlefield and commemorating and promoting to the nation the strategic importance of the Battle of Great Bridge and the economic and cultural contributions made by the Albemarle & Chesapeake and Dismal Swamp Canals. The Foundation’s Strategic Plan was adopted on April 24, 2003.
The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation is a nonprofit organization that protests, preserves, and promotes the history of the Battle of Great Bridge, December 9, 1775, and the region's Revolutionary War and canal history to educate the public about the importance of these events in the creation and growth of America.
The Foundation will be regional leader in promoting the compelling and relevant lessons of the Battle of Great Bridge, the Dismal Swamp, the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canals by furthering the conversation on the challenges of establishing and maintaining a free and just society.
*As a non-profit (501c3) organization, all donations to the GBB&WHF are tax deductible to the full extent allowed under the law.
The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation's Board of Trustees and Advisors, members, volunteers, and staff are all working very hard to make the Battlefield Historic Park & Museum / Visitor Center an educational showcase. We are grateful to our many donors for their support!
This project would not be possible without the support of our gracious donors, volunteers, and members helping to preserve this vital piece of American history!
The Foundation's Docents are local, volunteer subject experts that are passionate about our area's history and vital role in our nation's independence. They are committed to planting the seed for historical interest while focusing on SOL requirements. This exceptional group's unwavering support and dedication in representing the Foundation in the best possible way is truly priceless.
The docent’s job is an important one and crucial to the success of our goal of preserving and promoting history. Docent duties include: giving guided tours of the Historic Park and Museum / Visitor Center; explaining the history and crucial details surrounding the Battle of Great Bridge and the history of the waterways of the region; and assisting with educational programs, events, and activities on and off-site.
Join the Docent Committee or Schedule Your Own Docent-Led VIP Tour Today! Contact the Foundation office for more information.
Board of Trustees:
Rebecca Adams, Chesapeake Public School Educational Foundation Records Management Administrator
Donna Brown, Retired, First Grade Teacher
*Jean Carideo, Major Hillard Library Manager
Lee Curling, Retired US Army Reserve; Avaya Government Solutions Systems Engineer
Richard Fisher, Historian, GBB&WHF Docent
*Louise Franklin, GBB&WHF Docent Coordinator
*Elaine Hutto, Daughters of American Revolution
Molly Kerr, Historian
Cindy MacDonald, Retired School Teacher
Scott Matheson, Former Chesapeake City Council Member
John Maxwell, Former Chesapeake City Manager
*Brent Nielson, Retired City of Chesapeake Planning Director
Teresa Peters, Stanton Partners President
S.Z. “Debbie” Ritter, Chesapeake City Council Member
*Philip Smith, TowneBank
*Jon Stull, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret), Reenactor, GBB&WHF Docent, Military Staff College Instructor
Olivia Trombino, Retired CPA
*Michael R. Ward, Crestwood Middle School Principal
Board of Advisors:
*Michael Barber, Chesapeake Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director
Steve Best, Chesapeake City Council Member; Former Chesapeake Fire Chief
Jane Cart, Master's in Education, Foundation Docent, Volunteer with Therapy Dogs International
Robin Freeman, Registered Nurse for Chesapeake Public Schools, 25 Years of service with 4H organization, Owner of Gum Tree Farm
Gerald Hartis, Foundation Docent, Master Gardener, Certified Water Steward, Led the Landscape Efforts in the Park, Trains Volunteers to Work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Robert Hitchings, Wallace Memorial Room Archivist/Historian; Clipper History Writer
Garnett Lane, Chesapeake Recreation and Tourism Advisory Board Member; Chesapeake Free Care Clinic Board of Directors Member
Peggy Haile McPhillips, Norfolk City Historian
Mike Miller, Owner of AIM Services, Chair of the Hampton Roads Leadership Committee, Board of the Associated Builders & Contractors.
Louis Mosier, Volunteer and GBB&WHF Docent.
Rick Noer, High School Social Studies Teacher, 30 Years Special Agent U.S. Department of Transportation, and Volunteer Wrestling Coach
*Hugo Owens, Jr., CFO of NIA Corporation
Luke Pecoraro, Director of Curatorial Services for the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, Previous Director of Archeology at Mount Vernon
Lori Pickett, Historical Preservationist
Charles (Stan) Romes, Retired Air Force Officer, Strategic Planning Advisor in Defense Contracting, and Foundation Docent
Tom Sasso, Executive Director of Youth Virginia Regiment, EMS-Paramedic for Portsmouth Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services, Foundation Docent
Michael Sarros, Froehling & Robertson Environmental Department Manager
Thomas Sledge, Retired School Teacher; Reenactor
Doug Smith, 20 years as Teacher, Coach, and Administrator for Chesapeake Public School System, President of Hearndon Construction Corp. Board Member of CPSEF from 2008-2015 and served on Board of Chesapeake Sports Club and Tidewater Builder's Association
Edward Kimball Thompson, Volunteer and GBB&WHF Docent, Sergeant and member of the Board of Directors of the 7th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line, Member of the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard
*Denotes Member of the Executive Committee
Jon Stull, President
Brent Nielson, Vice President
Jean Carideo, Secretary
Philip Smith, Treasurer
We are proud of our work to preserve this nation’s history, and the completion of Phase I of our Museum / Visitor Center!
This Georgian style building located on the Intracoastal Waterways is a welcoming place for travelers by both land and water. This 12,000 sq. ft. (Phase I: 8,550 sq. ft.) building commemorating the historic importance of the Revolutionary War Battle of Great Bridge and the history of our waterways is located adjacent to a reclaimed portion of the original battle site.
The museum building currently has a 3,000 sq. ft. permanent gallery, a 2,000 sq. ft. gallery for changing exhibits that demonstrate the importance of both the Battle of Great Bridge and the historic waterways, a museum gift shop, and a resource room for local historical research. The completed Museum / Visitor Center will house a 100-seat auditorium for multimedia presentations and lectures and a multipurpose meeting room with a catering kitchen. This Museum / Visitor Center is the information center for the larger project being undertaken cooperatively by the City of Chesapeake, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Foundation: to create an historic park that encompasses the four quadrants of land that surround the intersection of Battlefield Boulevard and the canal at Great Bridge.
The Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways Museum is quickly becoming an important destination for education, with a partnership between it and area schools. As planned, the building is a vital asset to the community and will continue to be an educational and community resource for years to come.