Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
601 Howard England Way, 33040
Fort Zachary Taylor was constructed between 1846 and 1858, and remained in United States possession and with an active U.S. garrison throughout the Civil War. It was part of the United State's comprehensive "Third System" of coastal defenses.
Construction of these Third System forts began in 1816 with most being complete before the Civil War. These were large masonry forts that were to be constructed along the nation's coastline to protect important harbors, cities, interior waterways, and navy yards from seaborne attack.
Fort Taylor is listed on the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation's (www.floridatrust.org) current list of Florida's Eleven Most Endgangered Historic Sites:
Fort Zachary Taylor was built between 1845 and 1862 and is located at the harbor entrance to Key West. The Fort was used during the Civil War, Spanish American War, both World Wars, and the Cuban Missile Crisis.The site evolved with major modifications in 1898 including demolition of the top 2 tiers and construction of the Batteries Osceola and Adair. The only remaining component of the Post-Civil War network of defense is Battery Seminole and it is threatened with demolition. Over time, the marine climate has taken a severe toll on the Fort’s structures. Deterioration in some parts of the Fort has become so severe that parts of several structures are closed to the public for safety reasons. A lack of funding has placed additional stress on the structure. The threat will continue unless funding is identified to address these issues. Fort Taylor was previously listed on the Most Endangered List in 2003 but the threat to this historic resource has escalated enough that the Florida Trust has re-listed it on the 2010 Most Endangered List.
Fort Taylor today is preserved as the Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park. It is open daily from 8:00 AM until sunset. Admission is $6 per vehicle ($4 per single occupant vehicle) and $2 for pedestrian and bicycles, plus a 50 cent Monroe County surcharge.