Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas

The View from the Top

Lower Level Gallery.
We began our tour of the fort on the lower level. The tour guide told the history of the fort and some of the construction details. The Dry Tortugas Islands are dry, so cisterns were built into the fort elow this level rain water collected from the roof was filtered through sand and drained into the basement cisterns. However, things like frogs, snakes, and rats got into the water and mosquitoes lived there so the cisterns didn't work very well. This type of architectural photos seems to be a favorite of photographers.

Up on the roof with cannon.
We went directly to the roof to continue the tour. This is our group with the tour guide near the only remaing cannon at the fort. The appearance to me was of a small hill with a trail leading back down to ground level. However, there actually was a two story drop-off. The distant lighthouse is actually visible in the photo print but it's just a blip on the horizon in this scanned image. The park ranger quarters are in the area of the fort on the left of this view.

The Roof Trail
The tour group returned to the parade ground and then took a break for lunch. I went back to the roof to do some exploring on my own. The roof was covered with sand. There was a brick cornice along the edge. There was no railing along the roof of the fort but there were small metal signs along the edge of the bricks with warnings that the bricks were not safe to stand on. This area of wall was to the left of the entrance.

View of the Outside Wall
This view was from the area near the cannon and shows the outside wall looking away from the entrance. I didn't get my directions while at the fort, but based on the shadows, the fort entrance must have faced the south or southwest.

The Opposite Side of the Fort
This is a view across the parade ground to the side opposite the fort entrance. The people on the roof there provide some scale for the size of the fort. It looks like they're right on the edge.

The Distant Lighthouse.
We came by this lighthouse as we approached Fort Jefferson. I think we went by the north side of the fort, then circled around the west and docked on the south. The park headquarters building is just to the right of this photo. It is shown on another page.

Ferries at the dock.
This shows the two ferrys at the dock. The small ferry arrived first and we disembarked. Then our ferry moved away and let the big ferry dock. Our small ferry then tied up alongside the big ferry. We walked across the aft deck of the big ferry to return to ours. I think all the sand was brought in to make the beach for the tourists. The moat and the low outer wall were actually built to provide a breakwater. The plaque on the brick ledge warn that the bricks are loose and unsafe.

PAGE ONE - Photos of the ferry, the harbor and the big tour boats. Photos at the entrance to Fort Jefferson.
PAGE TWO - Photo of the lower gallery, photo of tour group by cannon on roof, and photos taken from the roof.
PAGE THREE - Views through the gunports showin the crumbling back wall, the small island nearby, and my wife. There is a view of the stalactites and stalagmites forming in the upper gun gallery.
PAGE FOUR - Photos of the parade ground, park headquarters, the lighthouse and the signs about Dr. Samuel Mudd.
The Coral Castle - We stopped and visited the Coral Castle on our way from the Miami airport to Key Largo. This place has a very interesting story and it is a beautifully landscaped novelty. I leave a few small photos here to pique you interest. You need to go see the place for yourself.

Other Web Pages Related to Fort Jefferson
Great Photos of Fort Jefferson - Several photos by Gene P. Gildow of the fort including a view from sea. These photos are a nice supplement to mine. Thumbnail images link to nice large photos. A map from the national park service is included. There are links to this person's Key West page.

Nature Pages Sub-Index
My Other National Park and Nature Photo Pages
Grand Canyon - These photos were taken from the south rim beginning at the east end of the canyon and along the river to near park headquarters.
Big Bend National Park - Big Bend National Park is a remote rugged area in far west Texas. The Rio Grande makes and abrupt turn toward the northeast at the 'big bend' before returning to the southeast to the Gulf. There is also a photo of Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle and a page of photos of the big sand hill in Boquillas Canyon on the east end of Big Bend Park.
Barringer Meteor Crater - These photos were taken during a hike around the rim of the crater. It includes telephoto images of the items on the crater floor.
Pike's Peak and the Royal Gorge - Photos from a drive up Pike's Peak. Photos of the bridge across Royal Gorge, the Arkansas River, the railroad in the gorge and other features.
Ouachita River Crossings - The Ouachita River begins in the mountains of western Arkansas north of Mena. It's a beautiful mountain stream at that point. It continues east to Hot Springs then swings south and crosses into Louisiana. I began at the trail foot bridge crossing the Ouachita at its headwaters and photographed all the major crossings down to Arkadelphia. I will continue to the Louisiana border one day.


Posted: 2/12/04
Re-posted to Yahoo web host: 3/6/09
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