Administrative Support Assistant, Mary Sims, informed local Historic City News reporters that the Fort Matanzas National Monument will offer four torchlight tours, with limited seating, on Saturday, January 18th; tickets must be purchased in advance, beginning January 4th, at the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center.
The cost is $7.00 each and children three and under are free. Each tour is limited to 32 visitors. Tours will depart the Fort Matanzas Visitor Center dock at 6:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.
“Spanish re-enactors will bring the history of the fort to life and explain the role of Fort Matanzas in the defense of St Augustine,” Sims told Historic City News this morning. “The tours will include firing demonstrations of two six-pounder Spanish iron reproduction cannons.”
The Spanish spent two years, beginning in 1740, constructing Fort Matanzas out of local coquina, held together by lime mortar that was made by burning oyster shells. Close-set pine pilings, driven deep into the marshy ground, give the fort stability.
The fort served many purposes over the centuries; a rest stop, coast guard station, and a place where vessels heading for St Augustine could get advice on navigating the river. Its primary mission, though, was maintaining control of the Matanzas Inlet.
The park is located 14 miles south of St Augustine on Anastasia Island and four miles south of SR-206 on SR-A1A. For additional information, call 904-471-0116.