Fort Eustis

Much of the low lying land along the James River which now constitutes Fort Eustis was known in colonial times as Mulberry Island, and was first settled by the English colonists shortly after Jamestown was established in 1607.

An important event in Virginia's history occurred in the James River off Mulberry Island in the summer of 1610. Survivors of the ill-fated Third Supply mission from England and the Starving Time in the Colony had boarded ships intent upon abandoning the floundering Colony of Virginia and were met off Mulberry Point by Lord Delaware with a fleet of ships headed upriver bringing supplies from England and a fresh determination to stay.

Fort-eustisHe literally turned the situation around by convincing the colonists who had just abandoned Jamestown to turn their ships around and go back. Among those who almost left was John Rolfe, who had departed England with his wife and child in 1609 with some very promising seeds for a different strain of tobacco he hoped would prove more favorable to export from Virginia than had been the experience to date.

The turning point at Mulberry Island delivered both Lord Delaware and businessman-farmer John Rolfe, two very different men, back to Jamestown, where they and the others were to find new success. Lord Delaware's skills and resources combined with Rolfe's new strain of tobacco to provide the colony with effective leadership structure as the new cash crop began financial stabilization by 1612. By 1614, Rolfe owned an interest in a tobacco plantation. That same year, he became the husband of Pocahontas.

For the next 300 years, Mulberry Island remained very rural, until it was purchased by the Federal Government in 1918.

In accordance with the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission report, Langley Air Force Base in Hampton and Fort Eustis near Newport News merged their administrative functions, becoming Joint Base Langley-Eustis (JBLE) in January 2010. Joint basing promotes and fosters a more cohesive operational partnership between the Air Force and Army while preserving mission capabilities and unique service identities.

  • Date privatized – June 2004
  • General location – between Newport News and Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Size – 8,300 acres
  • Miles of line - 51.3 line miles - 24.5 underground and 26.8 overhead.
  • Number of facilities served by the systems we operate - 2,001
  • Total dollar value of projects completed since inception - $37,886,810
  • Age of installation – Opened March 7, 1918
  • Number people supported – JBLE serves a large population made up of over 145,000 active duty, guard and reserve, family members, civilians, contractors, and retirees, including: 8,000 active duty, 400 guard/reservists, 10,000 family members, 12,000 students