Heritage and Cultural Resources
The Allee House, a brick farmhouse built by Huguenot settlers in 1753, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Friends of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge provide programs and tours of the furnished interior. Please click here for further information on the history of the house, as well as a current schedule.
Faulkner Island Lighthouse, off the shore of Guilford, is a stone tower built in 1802. While access to the island is closed during bird nesting season, the Faulkner’s Light Brigade provides occasional tours at other times. Please visit the Coast Guard Web site for more information on the history of the lighthouse.
A visit to the University of North Carolina website, will provide you with additional information about octagonal lighthouses and help put the lighthouse into context.
This refuge includes several historic island lighthouses, but access to the islands is restricted most of the year (including Spring and Summer) to protect nesting endangered seabirds, and landing is very dangerous at any season. However, a few of the lights can be observed from the decks of commercial tour vessels. Historic lighthouses on islands within this refuge include:
The Cape Ann Twin Lights, a National Historic Landmark, were both built in 1861, and is one of the few twin light stations remaining today. The north lighthouse tower is on the refuge. The Thacher Island Association manages the south tower, on property owned by the Town of Rockport, and provides historical interpretation of the light station. Visitors to the island can obtain access to the top of the north tower by inquiring with the Association. The Thacher Island Association webpage provides more information on the history of the light station, as well as a schedule.
The concrete gun emplacements of Fort Custis , part of the World War II defenses of Norfolk Harbor, are visible on this refuge and some have been included in an interpretive trail. Guided tours are available to Fisherman’s Island National Wildlife Refuge, which has additional World War II fortifications. Go to the refuge Web site for more information about the refuge.
This refuge has been placed on the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, due to its role as a sanctuary for African Americans seeking to escape slavery prior to the Civil War. Locations where these individuals and families settled and lived deep in the swamp have been discovered by archaeological survey. Slaves dug the extensive canal and ditch system in the swamp, as well as the larger Dismal Swamp Canal near its eastern boundary.