There it stands, in all its glory: Fort Pickens.
Simon Bernard, a French engineer in the 1800s, was tasked with designing and building a fort that could defend a vital port city on the Gulf Coast you may have heard about.
:::Cough. It’s Pensacola.:::
From 1829 to 1834, Fort Pickens was erected and fortified, boasting walls that were 40 feet high and 12 feet thick. You can pound on those walls all day long, but you’re not getting through. Although it is located in the South, Fort Pickens was one of only four forts that was never controlled by the Confederate Army.
Luckily, the fort is open for visitors, and the park rangers aren’t nearly as jumpy as the Union soldiers who once patrolled these walls. Climb to the top of the stronghold and stare out triumphantly across the Gulf of Mexico, imagining yourself in the heat of an epic battle. (Even though there are cannons up there, you may not shoot the boats.)
Here comes the spooky part. Head down below into the dark corridors of the fort, where the infamous Apache Chief Geronimo was imprisoned in 1886. Although this isn’t a necessarily harrowing historical site, one can’t help but imagine the stories that remain untold. Yikes.
Switching back to happier thoughts, Fort Pickens is also one of the most breathtaking spots to catch a sunset in Pensacola. Wrap your arms around that special someone, and watch that big ball of fire sink into the emerald green water. If this is getting too sappy, let someone at the Front Desk know as soon as possible.
This is one gem that history buffs can’t ‘a-fort’ to miss. (Ba dum, tss.) In addition to being a writer, I’m a pretty badass drummer.