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by Clyde Powell

 

 







 


Key West Area Parks Dry Tortugas National Park
1890 - Today

History of Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas

bullet1893 With the growing influence the United States was playing in the world,
and its large Naval Fleet. The Department of Defense noted that using the Fort
for any other purpose was not feasible. Fort Jefferson was the only deep water
port between the Chesapeake Bay and the Rio Grande that could handle the battle
ships of that time. Here they could get coal and fresh water. The War Department
ordered the quarantine station removed. The Fort was still used as a quarantine
station until 1900. It was now garrisoned with the 5th U.S. Artillery troops.
 
bullet1896 With the Cuban Revolution starting the year before plans for upgrading
Fort Jefferson were under consideration.
 
bullet1898 Dredging of the harbor channels started with a goal of 30 feet deep and
a with of 300 feet wide. The installation of two huge coal sheds with piers
begun. A huge tank with the capacity of 2,000,000 gallons was started. With
its water condensing plant.
 
bullet1899 An underwater cable was laid between Key West and the Dry Tortugas.
 
bullet1900 The Dry Tortugas was transferred to the Navy. With the completion of
of the water plant and coal sheds work was stopped.
 
bullet1901 The Fort was manned by a garrison of 29 men from the Marine Corp.
 
bullet1902 The Dredging of the channels and construction on the Fort resume.
 
bullet1904 The Damage done by a storm was repaired and the coal station finished.
A new wireless communication was installed.
 
bullet1906 The dredging was completed in the channels leading into the Fort.
 
bullet1908 This was the last time Fort Jefferson was used as a coaling station. Its
water plant was moved to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The reservation was given
to the Dept of Agriculture for use as a bird preserve.
 
bullet1935 The Fort has laid quite for many years. By proclamation the Fort was made
part or the National Park System by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was known
as the Fort Jefferson National Monument.
 
bullet1992 Rededicated as the Dry Tortugas National Park. This helped to increase the
protection of this 100 square mile area.

Clyde's Key West Parks
 


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