Jacksonville, Fla., May 4, 2018 – North Florida Land Trust is honored to receive a 2018 Historic Preservation Award from the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission. NFLT was presented with the award at a ceremony last night at the Jacksonville Main Library Auditorium. They were chosen for the award for the work they did to acquire and preserve the 1898 Spanish American War Gun Emplacements (Fort).
“We are grateful that we were chosen to receive this award, but we could not have saved this fort without the help of the entire community,” said Jim McCarthy, president of NFLT. “We share this honor with our contributors who made this possible including the City of Jacksonville, the Delores Barr Weaver Fund, an anonymous donor who matched up to $39,000 in donations and to all those who helped us raise the money to save this important piece of Jacksonville’s history.”
NFLT partnered with the National Park Service in 2015 to serve as the acquisition and fundraising partner to save the 1898 Spanish American War Gun Emplacement. It is one of four military installations in Jacksonville that acted in defense of the river and the only one that remains. NFLT led the campaign to purchase the property from an individual who had acquired it at a tax deed sale and had planned to destroy the fort to build a house.
NFLT acquired the fort in 2016 and will be turning it over to the National Park Service, who plans to add it to the Fort Caroline National Memorial as a public access park. NFLT’s campaign to save the fort assures the only actual fort in Duval County will remain intact and become a critical addition to the National Park Service’s interpretive and community education outreach programming.
The first fort in Jacksonville was Ft. Caroline which was constructed in 1564 by French Huguenots. It was later taken by the Spanish and renamed Fort San Mateo. The exact location is not known, but it is believed changes in the river left it submerged. An English fort was constructed in 1778 and was likewise lost when man-made changes to St. Johns Bluff caused considerable erosion along the marsh. A Confederate Earthworks was built in 1862 and has been buried. It now lies underneath a residential development.
About North Florida Land Trust North Florida Land Trust is a non-profit organization who serves as a champion of environmental protection primarily in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Union and Volusia counties. NFLT was founded in 1999 and has protected thousands of acres of environmentally significant land including property at Big Talbot Island, the River Branch Preserve, Pumpkin Hill State Park, Moccasin Slough, along the St. Mary’s River and other valued natural areas predominantly in Northeast Florida. NFLT is funded largely by private and corporate contributions and works closely with private landowners and other public agencies at all levels of government, not-for-profit partners, and foundations. For more information, visit www.nflt.org.