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Java History Trail

The Java History Trail is a 1.3-mile walking path through field, forest and marsh that deals with the history of the land and the people who lived and worked on it. Using the interpretive panels along the path, this is a self-guided walk through local history.

The Java History Trail is available to the public between the hours of 9:00am and 4:30pm Monday through Saturday and is only closed on Sundays and federal holidays. The trail starts and ends at the Reed Education Center. Print this trail map, or you can get one when you come. They are available at both the Education Department and the reception area in the Administration Building.

Groups can walk the trail for free, although groups larger than ten should contact Jane Holly in advance to let us know you are coming. Please bring one adult for every five children.

Because we are an active research facility and an environmental protection site, we ask that you leave your pets at home.

Java History Trail is also offered in combination with our education programs, and is designed to bring attention to the following parts of the history of the land:

Indians of the Chesapeake
Native Americans were the first people to use this land. They did so up until Colonial settlement in the early 1600s.

Colonial Settlement and Plantation Life
As the colonists arrived in the Chesapeake region, lands were cleared and farming was prevalent. This section of the trail includes a re-created tobacco barn, a tobacco prize (press) and panels that discuss the history of the site from about 1600 up to 1900.

Java Dairy Farm
In 1915, the farm was sold and turned into a dairy farm, which supplied milk for the local community and the Naval Academy.

Java's Return to Natures
In the early 1960s, the property was bequeathed to the Smithsonian Institution, which developed a long-term ecological research program on the property. Over the years, the site has continued to be on the cutting edge of Chesapeake Bay research. This section of the trail includes a boardwalk through the marsh so you can get a closer look at the flora and fauna of the tidal wetlands.