San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park
Fort San Marcos De Apalache
One of the small remaining portions of the stone wall of the Spanish fort, San Marcos de Apalache.
|Location||18 mi. S of Tallahassee, St. Marks, Florida|
|Nearest city||St. Marks, Florida|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
|NRHP Reference #||
|Added to NRHP||November 13, 1966|
|Designated NHL||November 13, 1966|
San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park is a Florida State Park in Wakulla County, Florida organized around the historic site of a Spanish colonial fort (known as Fort St. Marks by the English and Americans), which was used by succeeding nations that controlled the area. The Spanish first built wooden buildings and a stockade in the late 17th and early 18th centuries here, which were destroyed by a hurricane. The stone fort was built beginning in 1753. It came under successive control by Great Britain, Spain, the United States and, lastly, the Confederacy during the American Civil War. The Confederate army built Marine Hospital from the materials of the fort. The US took control of the site again in 1865. The fort remains were abandoned.
On November 13, 1966, the fort area was designated a National Historic Landmark because of its significance and added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Designated as a National Engineering Landmark, the fort site has been highlighted as a site on the Florida Native American Heritage Trail.
In 1679, the Spanish built a wooden stockade at this site which they called San Marcos de Apalache. It was part of their colonial expansion in the west Florida area from settlements in Mexico. A settlement developed around the fort beginning about 1733. Another wooden structure was built about 1753. The wooden fort was destroyed and the garrison drowned in a hurricane.
In 1759, the Spanish began to build a stone fort, designed to resist bombardment by ships. They abandoned it to Indians for use as a trading post after exchanging this territory with the British following their defeat of France in the Seven Years War. The British had a garrison at the fort. But, following the American Revolutionary War, the British traded some territory with Spain, which took over West Florida again. It reoccupied the site in 1783, and strengthened its defenses.
American settlers began penetrating the Southeast after the Revolution, settling deeper into Georgia, and the territories of Alabama and Mississippi. General Andrew Jackson led some raids in this area and had forces seize the fort in 1818. The Fort St. Marks Military Cemetery was established at that time, for the burial of men who died at the garrison. A total of 19 men were buried here after their deaths, mostly from diseases such as dysentery, consumption, etc. (See historic marker in photo below.) In 1821 the United States purchased Spain's holdings in the Floridas, including the fort site.
During the American Civil War, the Confederate States of America forces took over the fort after the secession of Florida. It built a marine hospital using stones and other materials from the old fort. The United States regained control in 1865 in the last year of the war.
Remains of the stone fort are visible at the site; it was designed to resist bombardment by ships at sea. A museum and visitors center has been built on the foundation of the Civil War era Marine Hospital. A stone well and retaining wall have been reconstructed nearby based on archeological evidence of original work.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- "Fort San Marcos De Apalache". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-21.
- Blanche Higgins Schroer. "Fort San Marcos de Apalache". National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination. National Park Service.
- "San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park - St. Marks, Florida". Explore Southern History. Retrieved June 17, 2012.
Media related to San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park at Wikimedia Commons
- San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park - official site
- "San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park, at Explore Southern History, includes detailed information and photos of the park
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