Scenic USA - Florida

Fort Zachary Taylor

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Fort Zachary Taylor SHP - Key West, Florida

Photos by Ginny West

     First explored by the Spanish in 1513, the Florida Territory was eventually transferred to the United States in 1822. Interior grounds - Fort Taylor Here at the most southern point on the east coast, a small depot was established by the U.S. Navy. Growing prosperous with fishing, treasure salvaging and cigar manufacturing, Key West became the richest city in Florida by 1890.
     Here in Key West, where the Gulf meets the Atlantic Ocean, construction began on Fort Zachary Taylor in 1845 to control this strategic area and protect Key West Harbor. One of the largest masonry structures in the United States, disease, material shortages and hurricanes lengthened construction time to 21 years. During the Civil War, Fort Taylor was controlled by Union forces and housed the largest collection of Civil War era cannons in America.
     Although the fort was originally constructed 1200 feet off shore, a 1960s dredging project surrounded the fort with sand, creating easy access for naval storage. Massive walls amd moat - Fort Taylor Now part of the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, a moat has been constructed around the massive fort to control access and better represent the historic structure. Park goers can relive the early days of pirates and old sea salts at the fort, and enjoy the best beach in Key West. With clear waters, tropical fish and live corals, this beach is also one of the best for snorkeling, swimming and scuba diving. One of the last stops for migrating birds heading south, this park attracts plenty of birding enthusiasts. Enjoy this rich history, tropical beaches and a much different look at Key West.

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