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Standing sentinel at the southwestern point of Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park seamlessly melds history and recreation into a very popular park for visitors and locals alike. Construction began on the fortress in 1845, with the intent of protecting this significant seaport. When Florida seceded from the Union, Fort Taylor had a good stock of cannon and ammunition — but it had one open wall, facing the town. Federal troops easily took the fort and with it, Key West, which remained occupied throughout the Civil War. The fort was later used during the Spanish-American War and further fortified with modern batteries through ...

Standing sentinel at the southwestern point of Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park seamlessly melds history and recreation into a very popular park for visitors and locals alike. Construction began on the fortress in 1845, with the intent of protecting this significant seaport. When Florida seceded from the Union, Fort Taylor had a good stock of cannon and ammunition — but it had one open wall, facing the town. Federal troops easily took the fort and with it, Key West, which remained occupied throughout the Civil War. The fort was later used during the Spanish-American War and further fortified with modern batteries through 1898. Decommissioned in 1947, it was used as a scrap metal yard by the Navy. Upon removing some of the more modern additions between 1968 and 1978, local volunteers discovered the largest treasure trove of Civil War-era cannonry in the United States, much of which is still buried within concrete in the casements. While a tour of this immense fort is a must, visitors will want to spend time enjoying the beach as well — sunning on the shore, snorkeling or diving the reefs, or relaxing at the Cayo Hueso Café with a cold drink.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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