May 12, 2016
For Immediate Release
The Resurrection Of Fort King
The Fort King Heritage Association, Inc. (FKHA) has announced the launch of their Buy A Log, Build A Fort campaign to raise funds to rebuild Ocala’s historic Fort King. Once the southern command for the U.S. Army during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) the fort was designated the county seat of Marion County in 1844 and served as the county’s first court-house. Located just east of 36th Avenue on Fort King Street, the 42 acre site is jointly owned by the City of Ocala and Marion County and was purchased through a grant from the Florida Communities Trust. It was designated a National Historical Landmark by the National Park Service in 2004. Today the site operates daily as a city park, with amenities including picnic tables, a one mile interpretive walking trail, the Fort King Cemetery, a Visitor’s Center complete with artifacts and historical displays, and the spring where the soldiers retrieved their drinking water.
More than fifty historical and educational programs are being developed for both adults and children. School field trips will have the added embellishment of period dressed docents escorting the kids along the actual remnants of the historic Fort King Road which connected Fort King with Fort Brook in Tampa.
So what’s missing? The Fort! The FKHA, an all volunteer citizen and support group, acquired a $295,000 Florida Historical Preservation Grant. To receive the funds, FKHA must match the grant. David Laffey, president of FKHA, said “Everyone sells personalized bricks to raise money. We’re selling logs.” It took approximately 600 logs to form the 150’ by 150’ palisades of the fort. “We’re building a replica of Fort King, therefore we cannot personalize the actual logs. However, donors will be recognized on plaques inside the Visitor’s Center,” Laffey added. There are three categories of log sales; $250, $500 and the $1,000 Founders Club Log. The Founders Club will be closed once the goal is reached.
# # #