Up until my sophomore year of high school I was pretty sure I wanted to be an archeologist when I grew up. That clearly changed, but my love for history hasn’t. I’ve always been fascinated with different eras and how long things have survived. This is turning into one of my goals while here in Florida- learning and visiting all the history and historic places that exist here. And there is SO MUCH! Explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed here searching for the Fountain of Youth, located in America’s oldest city: St. Augustine, FL. And trust me, that’s on the list of places to visit once we have a couple of free days, because I want to learn all about it and the legends that it holds (think pirates, kings, native americans, and that “Fountain of Youth”).
For the mean time, here’s some history about a place we visited called Fort Zachary Taylor located in Key West, FL. When Florida territory was first transferred to the United States from the Spanish in 1822, the US Navy set up a small “zone” along Key West, FL to fight off pirates (isn’t that exciting?) With the salvaging of wrecked ships, fishing, and cigar exports, Key West quickly became Florida’s richest city. 23 years later, in 1845, the US finally began building the Fort to be named after President Zachary Taylor. With the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 it became headquaters for the Federal Navy and was the only Fort in Florida to serve the Union.
Come 1947 the Fort, no longer being used by the US Army was turned over to the US Navy for maintenance. And when excavated in 1968, it was found to house the largest collection of Civil War era cannons in the United States, along with guns and ammunition found buried in the Fort’s arsenal. While majority of the Civil War artifacts are now in museums, the Fort is still very much intact. You can walk around canons still in place, see the church where soldiers prayed, their dining hall, toilets (hardly), their housing units (wooden beds and all), and the cells where they held captives of war.
The photo above is the dining hall where soldiers ate their meals.
The Church located at the Fort.
Can you believe these are beds?!?
The Fort takes up 87 acres and is surrounded by water along the front. It’s an amazing place to explore and you’re given a paper guide to let you know what each room/space was used for. The history this places holds is truly amazing and a cool thing for any history buff to see!
Thank you for reading and hope you learned something!