Do you consider yourself a history buff, or maybe you are just looking for a fun family adventure? Here’s an idea! Old Fort Park is a beautiful place to learn some history in New Smyrna Beach.
Old Fort Park Archaeological Site is a historical site which received the prestigious honor of being added to the United States National Registry of Historic Places in 2008, and is an integral part of the archaeological resources attributed to the 18th Century settlement of Dr. Andrew Turnbull.
The most interesting portion of “this program” is that no one can really confirm what the ancient coquina foundation at this intriguing site once supported: the mansion of Turnbull, New Smyrna Beach’s founder; a Spanish fort predating Castillo de San Marco in St. Augustine (which, by the way, is considered the oldest fort in the continental United States); a colonial church; or a site for constructing ships. Come see for yourself and make your best guess!
What is confirmed is that a large, wooden hotel was constructed above this historic foundation in the 1850s, only to be destroyed in an explosion caused by gunpowder that was stored in the basement. The hotel was reconstructed by the owners after the Civil War, but not destined for longevity; it was torn down in 1896.
You’ll find Old Fort Park nestled within several walking paths, benches and a canopy of stately oak trees… and offering a tranquil view of the harbor. There is a nearby farmer’s market which is open on Saturdays until noon and the history museum is right across the street, so you can make a delightful day of it!