Long-Lost Fort Harrell Found Again In The Everglades

painting of the Seminole Wars

An artist’s interpretation of the Seminole Wars.

The Seminole Wars was a series of three wars that were fought in the 1800’s between the American Army and the Native Americans who originally inhabited the area. The wars centered around land disputes – land that they the Native Americans felt was already theirs, land the American Army felt should belong to the newly formed United States. History tells us how this story ended, but little is known about the events that actually occurred during these wars.

The American Army built a series of forts throughout Southern Florida, areas where soldiers could rest and recuperate as well as stock and collect supplies. Many of these forts were destroyed during the wars, and others fell into ruin shortly afterwards. Many of these forts were simply lost to time and never seen or sought after again. Fort Harrell was one such fort that remained forgotten about until it was recently rediscovered by three local men in the Everglades.

Three amateur explorers and friends became fascinated by the story of Fort Harrell and set out on a quest to find it. Though their discovery has not yet been scientifically confirmed, they have found what appears to be the foundation for the long-lost fort, a structure last seen by the human eye in 1917 while road workers labored away on construction for the Tamiami Trail. The site is currently only accessible by boat, located deeply within the alligator-infested waters of the Everglades, but the three explorers dream of seeing the Tamiami Trail extended to accommodate tourists interested in seeing this piece of Florida history.

Everglades tours are a fantastic way for residents of and visitors to Southwest Florida to experience this history up close, while also observing Florida’s most wild creatures in their native habitats. Airboat rides with Captain Mitch are not only thrilling and fun, but informative and educational too.