Way back in 1825, with the revolutionary war 49 years past and the purchase of Florida from Spain only 5 years gone, America still very much feared attack by a foreign power. Inspectors were sent to the Dry Tortugas in the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico to source sturdy islands for fortification. 21 years later Fort Jefferson was built on sandy Garden Key, designed to consolidate the young country’s coastal defences and secure her lines of naval trade.
Fort Jefferson, over 100 years ‘abandoned’
For only 42 it saw active military service, in Federal hands for the Civil War, then serving briefly as a prison for naval deserters, common thieves, as well as the suspected assassins of President Lincoln. In 1888 the Navy handed it over to the Marine Hospital Service to be operated as a quarantine station. 47 years later in 1935 President Franklin Roosevelt visited and designated the area a National Park.
So now it remains, visited by tourists and maintained by Rangers, still the largest masonry structure in the Western hemisphere (with over 16 million bricks), a gorgeous hexagonal structure that both speaks to history and to the mentality of Americans, a people who only recently (compared to others) won their country from colonial powers and have ever since defended it to the hilt.
4 long walls and 2 short, set at sea level
Flanked by coral, a lighthouse within the grounds
Within the walls, parade ground, lighthouse
Looking out on the ‘moat’
On and on
Moat retaining wall
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See many more abandoned places in the ruins gallery.
Explore more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:[album id=4 template=compact]
You can also read SF & Fantasy stories inspired by ruins.
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