Fort Frederica – Saint Simons Island, Georgia - Atlas Obscura

Fort Frederica

The remnants of the fortress that saved Georgia from the Spanish still stand guard on their swampy island. 


Rising up from the marshy shore of Georgia’s Saint Simons Island, the crumbling Fort Frederica cuts a haunting image, but likely not as imposing as it was to the Spanish soldiers who failed to take the site from Colonial British forces.

Built in the mid-1700s by James Oglethorpe, the veritable father of Georgia, the fort and the accompanying town were set up as part of Oglethorpe’s larger plan to relocate the British poor to the New World. Unfortunately some of Britain’s old conflicts came with them when Spanish forces came up from the south and attacked the fort in an engagement that came to be known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh. Under Oglethorpe’s command the fort held strong and secured Georgia for the British, and eventually for America.

The defense was disbanded shortly after the battle and Oglethorpe’s settlement was also abandoned not long after, although neither of the sites were ever completely demolished. Despite the island marsh climate all around, the fort and some of the town survived down the centuries and the fort was finally deemed a national landmark in the 1930s.

Today the blocky battlements of Fort Frederica still stand. Many of the pieces of the fort have fallen away with age leaving the complex looking like the broken remains of a medieval castle, but those walls have survived more than their current state communicates. 

Know Before You Go

The National Park Service has created a unique and fun way to bring the buildings, and those who lived there alive through the Jr. Ranger program. Even if you don’t have kids with you, you might want to check out the Jr. Ranger program for this site, it’s one of our favorites.

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