Fort Jefferson Now

fort-jefferson-and-dry-tortugas-national-park-at-florida-topHi class!

Today we went really fast through this last wonderful place in our country, Fort Jefferson. I hope I impressed the fact that it has an outer wall encasing water, that it required 15 million bricks, which, by the way, are deteriorated and in need of replacement, and that it was an impressive and massive edification at the time.

879774710_origDry Tortugas National Park, with its huge masonry fort that sits on Garden Key, is the most remote of all the national parks of the contiguous 48 states. Positioned some 70 miles west of Key West, the seven small islets at the end of the Florida Reef stand alone in the Gulf of Mexico, truly the farthest outpost of the state of Florida.

You won’t find a grocery or drug store on Garden Key, where Fort Jefferson is located. There is no place to buy a hammer, a pair of shoes, or even such mundane items as toothpaste or toilet paper. Everything has to be brought in. That includes gasoline for the park’s six boats, drinking water, all foodstuffs, medicines, and maintenance supplies. Seven generators supply electricity, and if one breaks down, parts have to come by boat or pontoon aircraft from Key West. Movies are non-existent, as are bowling alleys, restaurants, and most kinds of recreation. The staff of ten is on its own for entertainment, so compatibility is important.

Supplies are brought in once a week by the supply ship Activa. If the staff runs out of anything between trips, it’s just too bad. Storing food or other supplies is difficult because there is no room in the leaky living quarters. The fort is crumbling and the mortar holding together the 16 million bricks is in disrepair, giving rainwater free entry.

The U. S. Congress and the state of Florida have appropriated hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the fort. Bricks need replacing. How to get them there? By floating them in on barges. Repairs also need to be made to the septic system, the cisterns for collecting rainwater, and the heating plant.

Restoration means shipping in workmen and all their supplies, as well as providing temporary housing for the workmen. Yet the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson have, in recent years, changed from the lonely, remote outpost of the last century into a popular tourist attraction. Boatloads and planeloads of vacationers, historians, and birdwatchers looking for rare avian species arrive each day to tour the historic fort. Even Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was a visitor several years ago.

Lonely? You bet it’s lonely. Lonely and peaceful in the evenings and early mornings, when there are only campers outside the fort’s walls. Lonely on the parade grounds even during the day as many visitors seem more interested in the beach and the snorkeling. The Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson, even in this modern era of planes and fast boats, is still a lonely, faraway, and peaceful place.


A two minute video on Abraham Lincoln’s 

A few facts you didn’t know about Lincoln’s assessination,



Can yellow fever kill you?
The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito. It infects only humans, other primates, and several species of mosquitoes. In cities, it is spread primarily by mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species. The virus is an RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus.

What is the name of the virus that causes yellow fever?
Yellow fever is caused by a flavivirus; it is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes, usually the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which had become infected by biting an infected human or animal (a monkey). An infected mosquito is a source of infection for the rest of its life.

Is there a cure for the yellow fever?
Yellow fever is a serious, potentially deadly flu-like disease spread by mosquitoes. Characterized by a high fever and jaundice, it is most prevalent in certain parts of Africa and South America. The disease is not curable, but is preventable with the yellow fever vaccine.

And this is where Gibraltar is:




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