Fort Christmas and Museum

Continuing on from my previous post, Christmas in June, here are some more photos and information on Fort Christmas. The Fort itself is a replica completed in 1977, exactly 140 years later.

Here are some pictures of the Fort:

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The Museum is inside the Fort. Below are pictures of some of the displays.

American Flag.  The American Flag of 1837 had 26 stars.  The 27th star was added when Florida was granted statehood in 1845.

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U.S.S. United States, model

In 1794 the United States Congress authorized construction of six frigates.  The U.S.S. United States was launched in Philadelphia, May 10, 1797.  These frigates were still in service during the Seminole Indian Wars.  They carried troops and supplies to Florida from the north.

In 1835 the U.S. Navy was a small defensive organization consisting of 785 officers and 3,627 sailors, augmented by a Marine Corps of 58 officers and 1,177 men.  By the 1837-38 winter campaign the army command realized that small shallow-draft vessels were needed.  The Seminoles were hiding in the southerly swamps and the soldiers could not follow.  The formation of the Mosquito Fleet, seven ships manned by 622 officers and men, and the development of riverine warfare were instrumental in penetrating the swamps of Florida.  By 1842 around 300 Seminoles remained in hiding in the swamps.  The war ended not with victory or truce.  The government simply no longer felt it expedient to send military forces into the Florida Everglades to harass and track down the remaining Seminoles.

Site of Fort Christmas, 1837

The Third Regiment of Artillery, four companies of the 3rd and 4th Dragoons of the United States Army and four companies of Alabama Volunteers reached this site, December 25, 1837.  A fort was completed on December 27th and they called it Fort Christmas having started it on Christmas day.  “The length and breadth of the picket is 100 feet.”  Blockhouses, 20 feet square, were built at two of the angles.  On January 3rd, 1838 the forces moved further south, leaving behind a garrison of the 3rd Artillery under Major Lomax.  The fort was abandoned in March of 1838 as it was no longer needed to obtain supplies from Fort Mellon.  Supplies were arriving by ship at the fort in Jupiter Inlet.

An Indian village, Powell Town, of some 30 or 40 lodges was located on the opposite side of a small stream from the fort.  “Most of the lodges were nothing more than 4 upright poles supporting a roof made of palmetto leaves on pine bark open at the sides with a platform of poles rais’d 3 or 4 feet from the ground for the purpose of sleeping on.  In the vicinity of each village was a cattle pen.”

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This is just a sampling of pictures that I took of the Fort and the museum.  It’s kind of hard to pick when you’ve taken well over 100 pictures of a small place!  I’ll have one more post showing some of the houses and their interior.

You can click here if you would like to see the first post in this series — Christmas in June

Christmas in June

A couple of weekends ago, hubby and I headed out in the car to get out of the house for a while before the daily thunderstorms hit. We really didn’t have any particular route in mind. We just started heading for the coast and figured if it didn’t cloud over, we might get to the beach. But, along the way, we passed a sign for the little town of Christmas. On a whim, we turned off and decided to check it out. We really didn’t check out the town but we did go visit Fort Christmas Historical Park. You can find the following at the entrance to the turn-off.  I took so many pictures at this place, I’ll post them in two or three separate posts.

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From the brochure:  In 1976 as a bicentennial project Orange County Parks and Recreation Department, with support of the Army Corps of Engineers, began construction of a full-size replica of Fort Christmas.  The new replica was completed in December of 1977, one mile south of the original location, exactly 140 years later.

In May of 1990 the Fort Christmas Historical Society was formed. Through their efforts a Master Plan was developed to create a living history settlement. The society has become instrumental in the preservation of rural heritage of East Orange County.

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After stopping in the reception building, the first place we visited was the 1932 School Lunchroom.  The lunchroom served home cooked meals and local women were hired as cooks. There were never any leftovers! Later it became a classroom.

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There were lots of kitchen exhibits.

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The next building we visited was the 1906 School.  Union School became Christmas Elementary in 1959 and closed due to overcrowding in 1969.  The two room school grew with the addition of a stage in front and a small classroom in back.  Later the front room became the kitchen, lunchroom, and auditorium.

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Next time I’ll post the photos from the Fort and Museum.



The Daily Post photo challenge this week is to capture something unexpected. You can also interpret the theme in other ways: a street scene or landscape that just doesn’t look quite right, an impromptu portrait of a loved one, or any other image that reveals a sense of surprise.

We were walking along the West Orange Trail in Winter Garden one morning and happened upon the scene in the picture below.  Here in Florida, the Florida State Seminoles and the University of Florida Gators are heavy-duty football rivals.  I have no idea how long this has been here.  I’m not much into sports but I definitely agree with the message on the sign:

Tough Times Don’t Last

That’s something we should all remember as we go about our daily lives.

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For more things UNEXPECTED, click here!