<& /components/POIPage.mhtml, version=>'1', new=>'2012-07-27', updated=>'', license=>'CC-NC-SA', author=>'Richard Welty', owner=>'NA Websites', locationName=>"Fort De Soto", campaigns=>@campaigns, websites=>@websites, references=>@references, books=>@books, type=>'fortification', id=>'fortdesoto-index', introduction=>'

Fort De Soto is a fortification built after the Spanish American War on Mullet Key to protect the entrance to Tampa Bay. The fort was completed in 1900 and was active for 10 years. After 1910, it was staffed with a caretaker detachment, and the Fort was abandoned by the Army in 1923. It survives today as part of the Fort De Soto Park, which is operated by Pinellas County Florida.

Fort De Soto\'s sister fort, Fort Dade, is on Egmont Key to the south and is much less accessible.

', visitorsNotes=>'

The principal surviving fortification is Battery Laidley, where 4 12 in mortars are on display in 2 pits. Originally there were 4 mortars in each pit, but 2 were removed from each for other fortifications. It is unclear why the Army did not remove the remaining mortars when they abandoned the fort. The fortification is well preserved and it is quite possible to develop a good feel for the operations of the battery. Battery Bigelow, which mounted the 3 inch guns, is a ruin in the surf. The 6 inch direct fire guns on display were not part of the inventory of Fort De Soto; they were part of Battery Burchsted at Fort Dade on Egmont Key, which is on the other side of the entrance to Tampa Bay.

Also surviving are the foundations of the buildings of the army post, and the concrete core of the observation tower. A replica of the Quartermaster\'s store serves as a small museum.

There is a snack bar nearby, and Fort De Soto Park offers excellent beaches and associated facilities.

', summary=>'

One side effect of the Spanish American war was the realization that many US ports were vulnerable to attack, and the decision was made to built a new set of coastal fortifications. The pair of Fort De Soto and Fort Dade were built to protect the entrance to Tampa Bay. Their useful lifespan was quite short due to rapid advances in Naval technology in the period (for example, the British built the new model battleship Dreadnaught).

The Forts were originally equipped with 12 inch rifled mortars (model of 1890) manufacturered at the Watervliet Arsenal in upstate New York. Short after initial construction was completed, a battery of 3 inch Driggs-Seabury rifled rapid fire guns was installed at Fort De Soto in front of the fortification for the mortars. Fort Dade, which was a bit larger, was equipped slightly differently.

', galleryLink=>'FortDeSotoGallery.html', googleMapLink=>'https://maps.google.com/?ll=27.61538,-82.735687&spn=0.001571,0.002832&t=h&z=19', mapService=>'MapQuest', gettingTherePre=>'

The MapQuest link will get you to Mullet Key. At the intersection of Anderson and Pinellas Bayway South, turn right to get to the site of the fort.

', searchStreetAddr=>'Pinellas Bayway S & Anderson Boulevard', searchCity=>'Tierra Verde', searchState=>'FL', searchZip=>'33701', searchCountry=>'us', dates=>'1900-1910', timeZone=>'EST/EDT (-0500/-0400)', latitude=>'27.61538', longitude=>'-82.735687', elevation=>'sea level', &> <%init> my @campaigns = []; my @websites = [ { url=>'http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/05_ft_desoto.htm', text=>'County Park website' }, { url=>'http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/pdf/Fort_DeSoto_historic_guide.pdf', text=>'Historic Guide (pdf)', }, { url=>'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_De_Soto_Park', text=>'Wikipedia' }, { url=>'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seacoast_defense_in_the_United_States', text=>'Seacoast Defense in the United States (Wikipedia)', }, { url=>'http://www.fortdesoto.com/', text=>'Unofficial Page' }, ]; my @references = [ ]; my @books = [ ];