After a great breakfast the first thing we do in St. Augustine is head for the fort. It is a must when visiting. If you don’t visit the fort you may have the ghosts of Spanish soldiers follow you home. It will cost you $15.00 a person ages 16 and up, under the age of 16 are free. If you have children you can check out the website https://www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm before going. There are pages for the kids to learn from and have fun with.
What schools want you to know:
- The fort was built by the Spanish out of coquina 100 years after St. Augustine the city was established.
- Coquina is a rock that is made from shells that over time have been bounded together. So the fort is made out of fossils. This material allowed the walls to absorb in impact instead of resisting it. So cannon balls and bullets did not destroy the walls yet acted like dough that pebbles are being thrown at.
- The fort has been named three times, first Castillo de San Marcos by the Spanish, then the British in 1763 named the Fort Saint Mark, and then the Unites States Army in 1825 named it Fort Marion. The National Park Service in 1942 went back to its original Spanish name.
- Over the years the fort was used for military defense and storage, it was also used as a prison for a short time.
- The design of the fort is called bastion. This design means it is not square. There are angles and curves that make it harder to attack. This fort has a star design.
- The fort sits on 20.5 acres, to give you an idea, Disney’s Magic Kingdom sits on 107 acres. So the fort would sit in just one area of the magic kingdom.
What School Won’t Tell You:
- There are a couple of ghost stories that go with the fort. The first is one of a soldier that carries a lantern on top to warn boats at they come in from the water. You would have to view the fort at night to see if this is true or false. The second is a love story gone wrong.
- Colonel Garcia Mari and his wife Dolores are living in St. Augustine and the Colonel is very busy and can’t devote as much time to his wife as she would like. She turns her attention to Captain Abela. The Colonel finds out and is not happy. He takes the two of them and chains them to the walls of the fort and then orders for the room to be sealed. They die there and you can still smell Delores’s perfume in the room some will say.
- This is an urban myth. There is no evidence to the story. It is true there is a room in the dungeon that was found sealed and when they discovered the room they did find bones inside the room, but no one knows who they belong to.
- You can go into the hidden room and smell for yourself if you can still smell the perfume. They have left part of the wall open so you must bend down to enter the small empty room.
- There have been lots of deaths throughout time here at the fort, are some of those spirits still hanging around? Maybe, you would need to experience for yourself.
- The tour guides are great at the fort and can fill you in on so much information. Don’t ask about the ghosts; they only are allowed to tell you actual facts about the fort.
Ghosts of the Fort:
- We must remember the age of the fort and that it has been owned by Spain, England, and America. So are these ghosts real? You are the only one that can answer that question.
- Some people say they can smell Dolores’ perfume in the fort.
- People have heard the sounds of soldiers’ boots walking the grounds.
- A staff member once claims he saw a full apparition of a soldier lying in one of the beds.
- In the cannon room some people claim they are shoved or pushed.
- A soldier is claimed to be seen with a lantern patrolling the grounds.
- And the TV show Ghost Adventures gathered what they claim is hard evidence that the fort is indeed haunted. https://dai.ly/x2h94lj https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x2h94lj“>https://dailymotion.com/video/x2h94lj
If you survive the fort visit—-then go for some ice cream on St. George street or some lunch at the Prohibition Kitchen.