Historical Books

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By the late 1700s, Fort Matanzas needed repairs. A little work was done, but Spain knew her days in Florida were numbered. Soon this gallant little fort would sit lonely and deserted for nearly 100 years, significant only as a curiosity.

1797: Pump on the cistern is replaced; new entry ladder built

1801-1810: New terraplein floor poured, interior walls plastered, second floor which had caved in, near chimney, was partially repaired

1811-1819: Cracks appear on tower parapet; foundations undermined by water; Recommended that garrison sleep in tents, not in fort

1821: Spain turns Fort Matanzas over to the United States

1853: Lt. Henry W. Benham examines Fort Matanzas and makes drawings; declares Fort Matanzas obsolete

1872: Henry Fenn visits Fort Matanzas and makes sketches for the book Picturesque America

1916: US Congress allots $1025 for the stabilization of Fort Matanzas

1924: President Coolidge names the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas as National Monuments

1929: The sentry box (garita) is re-built

1935: Docks are built on Anastasia and Rattlesnake Islands; Water erodes the SE corner of the fort, revealing wood foundations

Tower Reconstruction
Reconstruction of the tower, 1938

1936: The Castillo and Fort Matanzas are transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service

1938: Tower vault reconstructed and tie rods replaced

1940: Retaining wall built to south and east of fort

1956: Dock on Rattlesnake Island is rebuilt; miscellaneous masonry repairs done.

1968: Original 8-pounder cannons placed on replica carriages and installed at Fort Matanzas

1972: Regular ferry service begins

1978: Iron rods removed and replaced by rods made of rust-resistant stainless steel

1996: Furnishings placed in rooms

1999: Two replica 6-pounder cannon installed; Chimney reconstructed

2001: New dock built on Anastasia Island side


Most of these books are usually available at the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas bookstores.


Bennett, Charles E. Laudonniere and Fort Caroline. Gainesville: University
of Florida Press, 1975

Gannon, Michael. Florida: A Short History. Gainesville: University Press
of Florida, 1993

Landers, Jane. Fort Mose: Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose: A Free
Black Town in Spanish Colonial Florida. St. Augustine: The St. Augustine Historical Society, 1992

Lyon, Eugene. The Enterprise of Florida. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, reprint 1983

Manucy, Albert. Artillery Through the Ages. Washington DC: Division of Publications, National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior, 1985

McGrath, John T. The French in Early Florida. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000

Milanich, Jerald T. The Timucua. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Co., 1996.

Castillo de San Marcos Park Handbook Series. Washington DC: Division of Publications, National Park Service, Dept. of the Interior, 1993 *

Waterbury, Jean Parker, ed. Defenses and Defenders at St. Augustine (A Collection of Writings by Luis Rafael Arana, El Escribano Vol 36) St. Augustine: St. Augustine Historical Society, 1999

Waterbury, Jean Parker, ed. The Oldest City. St. Augustine: St. Augustine Historical Society, 1983

Web Pages--

Fort Matanzas National Monument www.nps.gov/foma
Castillo de San Marcos www.nps.gov/casa
Fort Frederica (Oglethorpe's fort in Georgia) www.nps.gov/fofr
Fort Caroline www.nps.gov/foca

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