Save the Fort!

We Did It!

Current view of the Fort, courtesy of Doug Eng

Current view of the Fort, courtesy of Doug Eng

Thanks to the generous contributions of many in the community, North Florida Land Trust is now the owner of the 1898 Spanish American War Fort. The papers have been signed and an important piece of Jacksonville’s history has been saved. Once the restoration is complete and the fort is turned over to The National Park Service, it will be added to the Fort Caroline National Memorial as a public access park. The preservation will make sure the only actual fort in Duval County remains intact and it will be a critical addition to the National Park Service’s interpretive and community education outreach programming

The 1898 Spanish-American War artillery battery fort was one of four forts on St. Johns Bluff that acted in defense of the river and is the only one that remains. The first, Ft. Caroline, was constructed in 1564 by French Huguenots. It was later taken by the Spanish and renamed Fort San Mateo. The exact location is not known, but it is believed changes in the river left it submerged. An English fort was constructed in 1778 and was likewise lost when man-made changes to St. Johns Bluff caused considerable erosion along the marsh. A Confederate Earthworks was built in 1862 and has been buried. It now lies underneath a residential development.

Wayne Hogan, a local attorney and contributor to the fort preservation, said, “Near Fort Caroline, and across the river from the important Civil War-era enclave of Pilot Town, the Spanish-American War Fort presents a key link in the military history of the St. Johns River as it reaches the Atlantic Ocean at Mayport. When it’s history and it’s important, it should be preserved; I’m glad this will be.”

To learn more, read our blog about the fort and its history.

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Those interested in donating to preserve the Spanish American War Fort can also send their donation marked for the “Fort” to North Florida Land Trust, 2038 Gilmore Street, Jacksonville FL 32204. For more information, contact Jim McCarthy at jmccarthy@northfloridalandtrust.org or call (904) 479-1967.