|1513 Ponce De Leon landed on these islands and gave them the
Tortugas (Spanish for turtles). Their is no fresh water on any of these
small islands so it eventually took on Dry Tortugas.
|1565 John Hawkins an English slave trader used the Tortugas
to lay in|
stores from the rich wildlife that called it home fish, birds, eggs and
turtles. Turtles were a real treat for the men who sailed the seas in those
days. It provided them with fresh meat. They were also easy to keep alive
on the deck of the ship for days to be eaten later. For the most part the
Dry Tortugas was used by the pirates that sailed the oceans. Praying on
the Treasure Fleets that sailed past here on their way back to Spain.
|1821 Florida was ceded to United States. A lighthouse was
Garden Key in 1825.
|1845 Florida Became a state. Construction begun on Fort Taylor in
The Tortugas became a military reservation. With shipping from the Mississippi
river heading for sea ports on the east coast. General Winfield Scott wrote
"Fort Jefferson was wholly national, being of far greater value to the people
on the waters of the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio rivers than to the state
|1846 After a year of planning Lt. Horatio G. Wright, U.S. Army,
arrived to start construction.|
|1847 Lt. Wright laid out the lines for the Fort. The first slave
labor arrived from
Key West. Utility building were down from New Hampshire.
|1851 With the completion of most of the moat wall. Construction of
the main wall of the Fort was started. The foundation for the chapel and
office were built. This included the cisterns system. When this system was
finished it included 109 cisterns with a capacity of 1,500,000 gallons of rain
that collected from the Fort roof.
|1852 Because of lack of funds work on the Fort Jefferson stopped.|
|1853 With the first contract from a southern brickyard work on Fort
Jefferson resumed. These handmade bricks were larger than those made in the
north and would hold up better in this climate. By 1855 the outside wall
reached 5 feet.|
1856 Capt. Daniel Phineas Woodbury an expert on arch
construction, relieved Lt. Wright. Wright later became Chief of the Engineers'
Corps. During the Civil War he was posted Washington D.C. Defending it from
the sudden attack in 1864. The main wall reached a height of 10 feet.
Work begun on the Loggerhead Lighthouse.