Welcome to the new Forttaylor.org! The original web site by this name was active from 2003 through 2011. The site then went inactive for some time until April 2016 when we purchased the domain from the original owner. Despite this long hiatus, we have re-established this web site to highlight and preserve the history of Fort Taylor located at Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park in Key West FL.
Our goal is to once again provide a historical accounting of Fort Taylor’s and its valuable treasures.
Construction on what would become Fort Taylor was begun in 1845 and continued through the Civil War until 1866. At the end of the war, the Army left all of the 198 guns and over 500,000 rounds of ammunition in place where it all remained untouched. The Fort was left in a caretaker’s custody until the early 1890s when a series of modications were initiated under the Endicott Period. These modifications resulted in the majority of the guns and ammunition being buried in the South Face and in Battery Osceola. They became the “hidden treasure” of Fort Taylor.
The Fort as it looks today is a result of these 1898-1904 modifications when it was reduced from two and a half stories to one and a half and all Civil War ammunition and cannons were buried.
The Army owned the Fort until 1947 when they deeded the Fort and the adjacent Fort Taylor Reservation to the Navy. In the 1950s the Navy chose to use the Fort as a repository for surplus military equipment and junk metal. It wasn’t until July 1968 that the “hidden treasure” was discovered by Howard England. Over the next 8 and a half years, Howard England and his team of volunteer “Sand Hogs” unearthed some 20 of the buried guns and over 7,000 rounds of ammunition.
On July 4th 1985, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park opened to the public and has become one of the showcase attractions in all of the Florida Park System!
October 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the transfer of ownership of the Park property from the Federal Government to the Trustees of the State of Florida. All of what you see today is a result of Howard England’s hard work and the dedicated work of the numerous Park Rangers and volunteers over the years.
England Historical Enterprises LLC is a proud supporter of Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and the legacy of Howard England and is responsible for this site.
We love our site visitors and welcome your feedback and suggestions. Use our Contact Us page to tell us what we’re doing right or what we can improve on.
[Painting of Fort Taylor by Seth Eastman, 1875. Original hangs in the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C.]
Forttaylor.org and England Historical Enterprises are not affiliated with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection or the Florida Park Service.