East Martello Tower
Key West, Florida

Photo courtesy of Richard Edling, Philadelphia, PA
For any use of these photos contact

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1. Key West Art and Historical Society - Custom House, Lighthouse Museum, Fort East Martello Museum
2. Key West
3. East Martello Museum - Key West Travel Guide
4. State Library and Archives of Florida
5. Key West during the Civil War
6. History of Key West
7. Key West: Wikipedia


East Martello Tower (1862 - 1946)
Four brick gun towers were planned to defend the landward approach to Fort Taylor, but only two were built. The plans were enlarged to include a semi-circular ring of casemates around each tower. The East Tower was abandoned in 1873, the West Tower was abandoned in 1866. The East Tower is near the airport, and the West Tower is about halfway between the East Tower and Fort Taylor. The West Tower, mostly in ruin, is now the Joe Allen Garden Center, located at the end of White Street. The East Tower is now an art/history museum (admission fee), located at 3501 South Roosevelt Blvd.

Designed after the nearly impregnable coastal Martello watchtowers in Italy, the Fort East Martello was never completed and never saw hostile action. Its outer bulwark and inner citadel with eight-foot thick granite walls built during the Civil War era were a monument to military engineering and could have withstood any amount of bombardment at the time. But the development of explosive shells made these defenses passť. Today its casemates, citadel and courtyard are home to a vast collection of Key West and Key's artifacts and historical records as well a military memorabilia. The view from atop the central tower affords visitors a spectacular panorama of the Atlantic coast of Key West. It is the best-preserved example of the Martello style of military architecture in the country.

(2001) Enlarge East Martello Tower   (2010) Enlarge Tower marker
(2010) Enlarge Civil War display   (2010) Marker for bell used on the first U.S.S. San Jacinto
(2010) Enlarge San Jacinto bell   (2010) Enlarge Civil War info display

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