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-k10U.S. 'GIBRALTAR' OBSOLETE BEFORE COMPLETION By HAMPTON DUNN KEY WEST --During the Civil War, this island community remained loyal to the U. S. and was the only Union stronghold in the South. The "Yankees" assumed control of Fort Taylor here and promptly proceeded to build four other fortresses to add protection. Fort Taylor guarded the entrance to Key West Harbor and the other forts, including East Martello Tower (photo), were begun during the war years. These auxiliary forts were designed to protect the big Fort from possible rear attacks. East and West Towers, each massive brick structures, were identical in plan. Although Key West labor plus 150 imported Irishmen worked furiously on the projects, neither fort was completed. Alas, all masonry forts were made obsolete early in the conflict by the development of the rifled naval gun and the explosive warhead! (A masonry fort near Savannah, Fort Pulaski, was wiped out by a Union naval force. Key West was never subjected to a naval attack). The name Martello seems to be a corruption of Martella Point on the island of Corsica where a fort of this type successfully resisted a British invading force in 1541. The term Martello Towers thus is used to designate masonry forts usually on seacoasts and which generally have thick walls and entrances high off the ground. The Key West forts had various uses during the Spanish-American War and World Wars One and Two. Through the years, some of the brick have disappeared and Key Westers used the forts as free brickyards for 90 years or more. The East Tower now is a museum and art gallery.
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U.S. 'Gibraltar' obsolete before completion
h [electronic resource] /
by Hampton Dunn.
1 online resource (2 p.) :
Title from caption on PDF of p.1 (viewed July 28, 2010).
At head of title: Photouring Florida.
Typescript of Photouring Florida column that describes the fortification of Key West Harbor with Fort Taylor and East Martello Tower.
Key West (Fla.)
x Description and travel.
t Hampton Dunn Photouring Florida collection.