Fort Zachary Taylor
The Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, better known simply as Fort Taylor (or Fort Zach to locals) is a Florida State Park and National Historic Landmark centered on a Civil War-era fort located near the southern tip of Key West, Florida.
Take a narrated tour of Fort Zachary Taylor and see Civil War cannons and learn about the fort's construction.
Take a stroll along the nature walk around the park and view the native wildlife, trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Many walking trails are wheelchair accessible.
Construction of the fort began in 1845 as part of a mid-19th century plan to defend the southeast coast through a series of forts. The fort was named for United States President Zachary Taylor in 1850, a few months after President Taylor's sudden death in office. Yellow fever epidemics and material shortages slowed construction of the fort, which continued throughout the 1850s. At the outset of the U.S. Civil War in 1861, Union Captain John Milton Brannan seized control of the fort, preventing it from falling into Confederate hands and using it as an outpost to threaten blockade runners. Originally, the fort was surrounded by water on all sides, with a walkway linking it to the island. The fort was completed in 1866, although the upper level of one side was destroyed in 1889 to make way for more modern weapons, with the older cannonsbeing buried within the new outer wall to save on materials. The fort was heavily used again during the 1898 Spanish–American War.
In 1947, the fort, no longer of use to the U.S. Army, was turned over to the U.S. Navy for maintenance. In 1968, volunteers led by Howard S. Englandexcavated Civil War guns and ammunition buried in long-abandoned parts of the fort, which was soon discovered to house the nation's largest collection of Civil War cannons. Fort Taylor was therefore placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Due to the filling in of land around the fort, including the creation of an attractive stretch of beach, the park now occupies 87 acres (352,000 m²).
Annual events include a sculpture display, concerts, pirate festival, fort haunting, boat race and more.
Park is open daily 8am till Sunset
Guided tours are offered daily at 11am