“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Key West in Monroe County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Water in "Dry" Tortugas

Fort Jefferson

— Dry Tortugas National Park —

Water in "Dry" Tortugas Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Vince Jackson, March 4, 2022
1. Water in "Dry" Tortugas Marker
Inscription.  Fort engineers designed an innovative system to collect and store rainwater to provide fresh water for the islands 1500 planned residents.

Garden Key receives about 30 inches of rain a year. Rain falling on the fort's top tier filtered down through sand to drainpipes in the walls and into 109 cisterns beneath the casemates on the fort's first level. The cisterns could hold a total of 1.5 million gallons.

Cracks in the settling fort allowed salt water to enter most of the cisterns but did not affect the 92,000-gallon cistern on the parade field. That cistern is still in use today.

The opening in the wall on your right held a water filter. Notice the crack (arrow) at the keystone of the arch, where the embedded iron pipe has rusted and expanded, damaging the surrounding wall. Also look for the old cistern openings in the floor and the original pipes for the hand pumps on the ground to your right.

Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles
Sand covered top level image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Vince Jackson, March 4, 2022
2. Sand covered top level
The first filter of the freshwater system of Fort Jefferson
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Parks & Recreational AreasWar, US Civil.
Location. 24° 37.677′ N, 82° 52.362′ W. Marker is near Key West, Florida, in Monroe County. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Key West FL 33040, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Gunrooms (a few steps from this marker); In Memory of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd (within shouting distance of this marker); Navy Days at Fort Jefferson (within shouting distance of this marker); The Dry Tortugas, Home to a Myriad of Life (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Keeping Powder Dry and Safe (about 500 feet away); Red-Hot Cannonballs (about 600 feet away); 15-Inch Rodman (about 600 feet away); Alfred Goldsboro Mayor (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Key West.
Also see . . .  Dry Tortugas National Park. National Park Service (Submitted on March 17, 2022.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 17, 2022, by Vince Jackson of Toano, Virginia. This page has been viewed 293 times since then and 123 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 17, 2022, by Vince Jackson of Toano, Virginia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 27, 2023