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Old Fort Park in New Smyrna

A mysterious structure of unknown origin in New Smyrna. Some speculate it may be the remains of an old Spanish fort.

It is unclear when, and for what purpose, the “Old Fort” at Old Fort Park was constructed. The site is also known as the Turnbull Ruins, named after Dr. Turnbull who began construction of a mansion on the grounds more than two centuries ago. There is speculation the Old Fort’s history stretches back as far as 1565 when Saint Augustine was founded.  Some historians suggest New Smyrna is actually older than Saint Augustine – perhaps the Old Fort was built to defend an early settlement? The Old Fort’s structure is similar to Spanish forts found nearby, including Saint Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos. Like Castillo de San Marcos, coquina rocks were used in the Old Fort’s construction. With so much history (both known and speculated) it is not surprising some claim the ruins are haunted at night by mysterious “shadow people”.

The park is free to enter and explore with plenty of parking nearby. The Old Fort is a great stop for sight seeing while visiting Historic Downtown New Smyrna and New Smyrna Beach. The Sugar Mill Ruins can also be found nearby and offer another impressive historic site. If you would like to see a more complete (and historically confirmed) Spanish Fort you can also visit Fort Matanzas National Monument.

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Old Fort Park in New Smyrna

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