Fort Frederica National Monument, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Hey again everyone,

This week I continue my series of posts about sites we saw during our Thanksgiving stay on St. Simons Island, Georgia. The Island itself is the site of the Fort Frederica National Monument. The day of our visit the weather was partly sunny with very mild temperatures. As we drove onto the monument property, we observed that the parking lot was mostly empty with a few cars parked in the back of the lot, we assumed they belonged to staff and volunteers. It was the day before Thanksgiving after all.  So we were greeted by the friendly staff, glad that people were showing up and interested in what their site had to offer. We were directed to their theatre to watch an interesting 20 minute video about the development and preservation of the Fort. then we set out on a self guided tour of the grounds. I should mention the Park Service has created a number of informational signs to help visitors understand the history of Fort Frederica.Fort Frederica-2231IMG_2998

Fort Frederica was military town on the colonial Georgia frontier that protected the entrance to the inland waterway, the Frederica River. The Fort and surrounding town were developed to help the British stave off invasions by the Spanish. The Fort was developed by James Oglethorpe who is credited with founding and leading the Georgia colony in its infancy. In 1736, he led a group of soldiers and settlers to St. Simons Island to establish the fort and village. He named the town after King George’s only son, Frederick. First, they built the earthen fort in the shape of a four pointed star. The town was laid out in a corn field behind the fort, with equal sized lots 60 x 90. Each family was assigned a lot and 50 acres for raising food and crops. After a period of time living in palmetto huts, settlers built houses made of tabby (concrete made from oyster shells), wood and brick. Soon businesses were established such as a store, tavern, and a doctor. Soon the town flourished and it’s height, there were almost 500 residents. In addition, an earthen berm was made around the town, the remnants that still can be seen today. Here are some photos as we walk the “streets” of Frederica. Broad Street was the main thoroughfare through the town and led to the Fort.Fort Frederica-5389IMG_3001IMG_2999Fort Frederica-5400Fort Frederica-5385Fort Frederica-5384Fort Frederica-2235

The Fort fronted on the Frederica River. The only remaining structure from the Fort is part of the magazine where the ammunition was stored. Here are a few scenes from the remains of the Fort.IMG_3006Fort Frederica-5394Fort Frederica-5388IMG_3015Fort Frederica-5387

This British flag created by King James of Scotland after they united with England was used during the new world colonial period. This replica flew over the fort on the day of our visit.Fort Frederica-5391

The old live oaks at the Monument were covered in Spanish moss. For the record, it’s neither Spanish or a moss. It’s actually a non-parasitic plant that takes water and nutrients from the air. It has no roots and very tiny flowers that are hard to see. It can hold 10 times its weight in water and when it holds moisture it can have a cooling effect on the surrounding environment. Some of the uses were for kindling, ropes, pillow and mattress stuffing and primitive clothing. That’s probably more than you wanted know! Since it doesn’t grow where we live, I always find it intriguing when we see it.Fort Frederica-2233Fort Frederica-5383Fort Frederica-2238

In it’s early history, John Wesley and his brother, ministered to the soldier and towns people for a time. They were disappointed in the reception of their strict adherence to “primitive christianity.” After returning to England disillusioned, Wesley founded the Methodist Church.Fort Frederica-5402IMG_3018

Our two hour visit to the Fort Frederica National Monument was pleasant and relaxing among the beautiful and well maintained landscape. Thanks for traveling along and I hope to see you next week with my last installment from our Thanksgiving travels with a stop at the Fort Caroline National Monument.

Until next week, travel safe.

Tom