NORFOLK, Va. — On the outside, it may not seem like much.

But the inside tells the stories of our country's early years.

"Fort Norfolk was part of a two fort system: Fort Norfolk and Fort Nelson across the river" said Steven Forrest of the Norfolk Historical Society.  Fort Nelson is now the site of the Portsmouth Naval Museum but Fort Norfolk stands and overlooks the Elizabeth River.

The Army, Navy and both sides of the Civil War used the fort in its early days. Its former residents are military weapons and prisoners. Visitors to the fort can see some of the messages left behind by some prisoners but Forrest of the Norfolk Historical Society warned, "these are sailors. So they wrote all kinds of things on the wall."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers took over after the Civil War. Now, the volunteer-based Norfolk Historical Society holds tours on Sunday afternoons through September. You'll be able to see the store house, guard house and the original officer's quarters.

The magazine is off limits to the public. The Navy filled the now large echoing room with ammunition.

All you'll need is a government ID and curiosity if you plan to visit.

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