On February 9th, I put up a brief post with a few photos about my January visit to Fort Christmas Park, a “hidden gem” within the Orange County (Florida) parks system.

When you visit any park, you’d expect to find some rec facilities, picnic sites complete with sheltered pavilions, grills and a playground.

Fort Christmas Park has all of that and much more. A recreated Fort of no small historical significance, for starters.

The construction of this outpost for our troops of that day began on Christmas day of 1837. Which is–as you might expect–the reason behind the Fort’s noteworthy name.

Are you interested in Florida history?

Would like to know more about the three Seminole Wars of the 19th Century?

The conflicts which have been called the “Vietnam Wars” of that time.

More about the fighting spirit and resistance of great Seminole chiefs like Osceola, Micanopy and Billy Bowlegs?

I was quite surprised to learn how much the park and the recreated fort could inform and educate those who come to see and experience all of it.

My companion and I stayed for over three hours and tried to take it all in. I assure you, it was time very well spent.

This post is mostly focused on the recreated fort. I did get some good photos and those make a good template to put together a post that can give one a glimpse into what the park and the replica of the fort have to offer.

The banner photo is a view of the gate leading into the fort from the outside. The one below is of one of the stockades from the interior. This would be one of the locations where troops defending the outpost would be if the fort should come under siege.

Once you’re in the interior of the fort, the building you see below houses a fine and accurate exhibition of the fort’s history, down to the carpentry and construction tools which were used for such purposes in the 19th Century.

Another one of the things that caught my interest is pictured below. That’s the enclosure where gunpowder and musket balls–the ammo of the 19th Century–were stored.

The earthen floor–which you can’t see in this exterior shot–was about two feet below ground to keep the ammo cooler and more secure than it would be at ground level.

There is so much more about Fort Christmas Park and the Fort in particular that could never be conveyed in a blog post.

For example, there are many real, authentic out-buildings that illustrate what life was like for settlers here in Florida in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The photo below features just one of them.

I did capture a few interior shots that I think merit a place in today’s posting. I’m very keen to know more about about wood-burning stoves and some of the other furnishings found in the homes of that time.

If you’re in Central Florida or ever come here–for a visit to our beaches or ever-popular theme parks–I heartily recommend the Fort and the Park for anyone who’d like a glimpse into Florida History or get a taste of what life was like for our early settlers.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

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