Fort Jefferson, Enlisted Men's Barracks II, Garden Key, Key West, Monroe County, FL
Fort Jefferson was part of Fort Jefferson National Monument from 1935 to 1992. Since then it has been part of Dry Tortugas National Park. The address for the survey has been updated to reflect this change.
This survey originally used the name "Fort Jefferson, Enlisted Men's Barracks II." Research by staff at Dry Tortugas National Park indicated that name was incorrect, so it was changed to "Fort Jefferson, Soldiers' Barracks."
Significance: When Fort Jefferson was established in 1846, priority was given to the construction of permanent officers' quarters, enlisted men's barracks, and associated kitchens. The original specification for Fort Jefferson included a barrack for ten companies, measuring 338'-5" x 35'-6" and three stories in height, with detached kitchens, one for each company. As with the Officers' Quarters, a section of the entire barracks building, about 67' in length, was first erected. This would provide housing for two full companies, which was thought to "suffice at least for the first year to afford lodging & messing room for laborers." The kitchen belonging to this section of barracks was erected at the same time. The design was undertaken by Chief Engineer of the U.S. Army General Totten and drawings prepared by Lieutenant Montgomery C. Meigs. Work began in 1847, although construction dragged on for decades due to issues of funding, the lack of an able workforce, epidemics, and extreme weather conditions. During the Civil War, a part of the unfinished barrack was used as a hospital, but it was reported in 1866 that it was then "in such a state of incompletion as to be unfit for use at all." The Soldiers' Barracks were not considered complete until about 1874. They burned in 1912 when a fire started in a privy back of the lighthouse keeper's cottage. The above grade remains were demolished in 1962.
Survey number: HABS FL-44-B
Building/structure dates: 1847-1874 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1912 Demolished
Building/structure dates: 1962 Demolished
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 70000069, 01000228