Fort King National Historic Landmark
Fort King was a United States military fort located in north-central Florida, near what is now the city of Ocala. Colonel William King, commander of Florida’s Fourth Infantry and first governor of the temporary West Florida area, shared his name.
The Fort was a notable landmark of the Seminole Struggle. It was America’s most protracted and costly war with its indigenous people. Fort King is a story about a complex history involving the conquest of the state of Florida and beyond. It is the narrative of a fledgling country attempting to develop and the indigenous people battling to stay alive.
With a rich history, the Florida fort’s original purpose was to act as a barrier between the Seminole and incoming settlers. Still, it became a substantial base for the United States Army during the Seminole Expulsion and the Seminole Wars in the 1830s.
The Seminoles, in July 1836, deserted and torched the Fort. The second Fort King came into being in 1837. For most of the Second Seminole War.
It was later used as a courthouse once Marion County’s construction was in 1844, but it eventually received a decommissioning notice. Residents dismantled it to recover construction materials.
Near the junction of East Fort King Street and 39th Avenue in Ocala, the fort is a National Historic Landmark. The fort was recreated in late 2017 to be as historically authentic as feasible.
The local government holds most of the Fort King property (jointly owned by the City of Ocala and Marion County).
A Visitor’s Center featuring Fort King and Florida history, a library, and an Archaeology Center are among the park’s attractions. Artifacts discovered on-site at Fort King are on display at the Archaeology Center. It provides information on the archaeological technique used to re-create the Fort King replica and upcoming projects such as the blacksmith shop.
An interpretative route also leads from the fort’s top to the Seep Spring and down via a ravine with native and alien plant and tree species. Bring a picnic lunch and create memories at one of the picnic areas.
The park is open from dawn to dusk daily. You can tour the park during working hours from Tuesdays through Fridays, noon to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fort King National Historic Landmark is closed on Mondays and Sundays.
Today, the City of Ocala manages Fort King. The Fort King Heritage Association, Inc. is a Florida non-profit organization committed to saving, preserving, and advancing Fort King’s heritage. You can find new displays every three months.