Fort Matanzas Upcoming Torchlight Tour | Arts & Culture

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Fort Matanzas Upcoming Torchlight Tour
Fort Matanzas Upcoming Torchlight Tour

Fort Matanzas National Monument will be offering torchlight tours Saturday March 12, 2011.  Tours will depart the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center dock at 6:00, 6:45, 7:30 and 8:15 PM.  Spanish re-enactors will be stationed at the fort and each tour will include cannon firing demonstrations of two six-pounder Spanish Iron reproduction cannons. Tickets will be available February 26th through 5:00 PM March 12th only at the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center and you must purchase your tickets in advance.  The cost will be $7.00 each and children three and under are free.  Each tour will be limited to 30 visitors and this will be the only winter torchlight event this year. 

Fort Matanzas was constructed in 1740 – 1742 and the 50 feet on each side with a 30-foot tower was built of coquina, a local shellstone.  Lime for the mortar was made by burning oyster shells.  A foundation of close-set pine pilings driven deep into the marshy ground gave the fort stability.  Loopholes in the south wall of the tower allowed the infantrymen to fire their muskets from inside the fort.  Besides warning St. Augustine of enemy vessels and driving them off if necessary, the fort also served as a rest stop, coast guard station and a place where vessels heading for St. Augustine could get advice on navigating the river.  Its primary mission, though, was maintaining control of Matanzas Inlet.

The park is located 14 miles south of St. Augustine on Anastasia Island and four miles south of Route 206 on Highway A1A.  For additional information, call 904-471-0116 or www.nps.gov/foma

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