Aerial view of Fort Jefferson

Aerial view of Fort Jefferson

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
(please include photographer's name when noted).


  • Aerial view of Fort Jefferson

Image Number

  • N045468


  • 1940

Date Note

  • Photographed October 26, 1939.

Series Title

General Note

  • Fort Jefferson is the largest of the massive brick fortifications built during the 19th century for the defense of the American coast.Located in the Dry Tortugas, 68 miles west of Key West, Fort Jefferson was obsolete before it was completed. This resulted from the development of rifled cannon.
  • Known as the "key to the Gulf of Mexico," Fort Jefferson is a six-sided structure about a half mile in perimeter, with walls eight feet thick and 45 feet high. The fort was designed for a garrison of 1500 men and an armament of 450 cannons in three tiers.
  • Construction of the fort on Garden Key, most of whose 16 acres it covers, was started in 1846 and continued for 30 years. It never was completed.
  • Fort Jefferson's strategic position at the inlet and outlet of the Gulf of Mexico hampered Confederate blockade runners in the War Between the States.
  • Today the principle interest in the impressive ruin of tropical Dry Tortugas is the abounding bird and marine life.
  • The Dry Tortugas Islands form the southwestern tip of the Florida reef. Tortugas,Spanish for "turtles," was the name given the group in 1513 by the discoverer Juan Ponce de Leon, who found hundreds of turtles there.
  • Fort Jefferson received international notoriety as the prison of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, convicted of being one of the "Lincoln conspirators."

Physical Description

  • 1 photonegative - b&w - 4 x 5 in.

Subject Term

Geographic Term

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