TDC-Funded Work Underway to Restore County’s Historic East Martello Civil War Fort Museum

Photos by Monroe County Project Management of brick and mortar restoration work being done on the East Martello Civil War fort that is now a museum in Key West.

Monroe County’s Project Management Department is overseeing three projects to restore, repair and improve the Fort East Martello Museum on South Roosevelt Boulevard in Key West. The Monroe County Tourist Development Council is funding the “brick and mortar” projects at the Civil War fort, which is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

The TDC is funding a current project to restore the brickwork and mortar of the more than 150-year-old fort. The work is expected to be completed this spring.

The TDC also is funding a nearly $1 million roof replacement project and a $400,000 parking lot and drainage improvement project, which will help to prevent heavy-rain flooding, at the Fort East Martello Museum. Both projects are out for bid. Contracts are expected to be awarded in May, with construction likely starting in June and taking 6-8 months to complete.

“Without TDC’s generous support, the County would not have the resources to undergo these important projects that will safeguard and protect one of the Keys’ most significant and treasured historical buildings for generations to come,” said Cary Knight, Interim Director for Monroe County Project Management. “These TDC grants provide us the funding for the entire project – permitting, design and construction.”

The fort, located at the entrance to the Key West International Airport, is one of the first attractions visitors see. More than 45,000 residents and tourists annually visit the museum.

Monroe County, which owns the fort, also is working to repair electrical and other damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

The Key West Art & Historical Society, which restored the fort in 1950 and turned it into the first museum in the Florida Keys, operates the museum.

On Sunday, March 4, the Fort East Martello Museum is offering free local admission for anyone with a Monroe County ID. The Key West Art & Historical also is offering free local admission at its other three museums: the Key West Lighthouse and Keepers’ Quarters (also owned by Monroe County), the Custom House and the Tennessee Williams Museum.

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