Old Fort Cleaned Out
Old Fort Pierce Park is the site of an Ais Indian burial mound that predates Columbus by several hundred years. The location later became an Army fort used during the Second Seminole War (1838-1842). During the Seminole War, it was commanded by Lt. Col. Benjamin Pierce, brother to President Franklin Pierce. It is also believed that it is the location of a Spanish settlement, mission and military outpost dating back to 1567.
For a long while the Fort has been neglected. Not even a historical marker to honor the long extinct tribe or the soldiers that were later stationed there. The burial mounds concrete steps and dense undergrowth combined with poor lighting had turned the Old Fort Park into something of a “Lover’s Lane”. Our group has made several investigations at the site with promising results, but when we were there several months ago to film a school history project for my daughter, it appeared that one of the local gangs had been there and “tagged” the trees and steps.
We had decided to scratch it off our list due to safety concerns. No investigation is worth risking one of our investigators becoming a ghost themselves. However, several weeks ago the city came through and completely cleaned out the dense foliage on the indian mound. I’m not sure of their reasoning, whether it was because of the gang activity or to honor the requirements of being a National Historic Site. Either way, it is sad to see these 100 year old trees cut down, but it may return the park to a place that is safe to visit and investigate.
Steps to the top of the mound in May 2008.
Indian Mound late 1890′s
Looking up the mound today
Ancient oyster shells and other debris from midden mounds laying on the ground around the entire park site.