Torchlight Tour tells history from battlefields to classrooms


400-FORT-CASTILLOJoin Historic City News readers and your official Nation Park Service guide, for a special look at St Augustine during a torchlight tour interpreting the period between 1875 and 1878 at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument; then known as Fort Marion.

Walk off Valentine’s Day dinner on Saturday, February 15th. There will be two nighttime candle-lit tours of the fort covering this period in history; each lasts roughly 45 minutes. Tours depart from the ticket booth at 6:45 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are available on a first come first serve basis at the Fee Booth and will be $8 per adult ages 16 and up, $4 per child aged 5 to 15 and children under 5 free. Space is limited.

In the 1800s, as western expansion increased, violence between Native Americans and white European settlers escalated — and essentially ended the traditional way of life for the Plains Indians. Assimilation into the white mainstream culture would require education, hard work, and conversion to Christianity, self-support, and rejection of their traditional culture.

In their efforts to accomplish the task at hand, the U.S. government removed over 70 warriors from Fort Sill, Oklahoma after the Red River War. Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Arapaho, and Caddo tribesmen were brought to the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

Upon arrival at Fort Marion, their warden, Captain Richard Henry Pratt, managed the prisoners as a military unit and recruited local women to teach English and basic elementary skills.

These and other efforts led by Pratt and the teachers were an attempt to “Americanize” the group.