Fort King George Historic Site

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302 McIntosh Road, Darien, GA, USA

Fort King George Historic Site Darien Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
Fort king George Mar 04, 2015
In 1721 a small military fort opened on the fringe of the British Empire near the Altamaha River just north of Spanish Florida. Staffed by “invalids,” or old soldiers long past their prime, Fort King George was meant to keep Spanish encroachment from St. Augustine at bay in territory claimed by Britain. The Spanish weren’t too pleased since the fort was built on the site of a Spanish mission from the 1690s out to convert the local Indians to Catholicism (and Spanish rule).

No fighting ever broke out though many of the men died from poor health and drunken brawls. The place was shut down in 1727, though in the following decade a series of new forts were built along the coast modeled after Fort King George but manned by younger and better soldiers. When the colony of Georgia was established in 1732, the land near the old fort was settled by Scottish Highlanders who later proved invaluable in repulsing a Spanish invasion in 1742 that ended Spain’s claims to the area (the climax of the War of Jenkin’s Ear - yeah, there really was a war by that name).

Today the site is a state park that includes a reconstruction of the old fort. Most of the records have survived and the fort design was a standard one, so the archaeologists are fairly certain the recreation is accurate. The surrounding marshland, oaks billowing with Spanish moss, and palm trees are quite beautiful with several trails meandering through the growth (just keep an eye out for alligators). The ruins of a saw mill built by the Highlanders are still present as well as a small graveyard for the unlucky British invalids.

There is a visitor center and small museum that do a good job of presenting the complex colonial politics of competing European powers in the region. A short 15-minute film provides a helpful overview before you head out to the fort. Admission is $7.50 for adults.

Apparently during the summer the mosquitoes are atrocious, but there is free bug spray in the visitor center if you want to spray down. It was too early in the season for me to worry about them on my visit, but there were aggressive carpenter bees around the main blockhouse that kept me from going in. They must be nesting inside the wooden structure (perhaps the park staff should call in an exterminator?). Regardless there was still much to see and enjoy despite the angry bees. Fort King George is only a few miles from Interstate 95 in the town of Darien off of exit 49.
Entrance sign
Fort King George Visitor Center
Model of the fort
An old saw blade surrounds the tree
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Vikram says:
Agree, great writing! I'm ok with the mosquitoes but bees, and carpenter bees at that?! No thank you!
Posted on: Aug 29, 2015
joehobo says:
great writing...
Posted on: Mar 09, 2015
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Cho Cho
104 reviews
The oldest English fort on Georgia's coast Aug 28, 2015
I am very much into exploring old places. They are full of history and I find them fascinating because I feel that what happened in the past, both good and bad can affect us today. Furthermore, history is not simply about facts and dates. It can guide our decisions today to avoid the mistakes of the past, and help create a better future.

With the above in mind, we went to visit Fort King George which is situated on Georgia's colonial coast in the town of Darien.

The Welcome Center is right there as you enter the compound. It is surrounded by a well kept lawn with magnificent live oak trees on the grounds. Very good first impressions! We paid the admission fee of $7.00 per person and proceeded to the fort which is a reconstruction of an 18th century British outpost on the Altamaha River.

To give a brief historical background of the fort, it was built in 1721 to curb French and Spanish expansion in the colonies. For the next six years the fort was garrisoned by a British unit known as His Majesty's Independent Company who endured many hardships from disease in a harsh coastal environment, enemy threats and a destructive fire. In all, 140 soldiers and officers died at the fort and it was finally abandoned in 1727, however, not before it had established British influence in a land that was to become Georgia.

As we started our tour, I noticed that the exterior fortifications were designed to make the fort as impenetrable as possible. The defense structures included a moat, a palisade fence, earthworks, firing walls with a cannon battery and firing steps where soldiers could fire and/or load their muskets. Inside the fort there is a big blockhouse which was the main building of the fort. There is also an Officer's Quarters, enlisted soldiers' barracks, guardhouse, sentry boxes at each corner of the fort, even a Baking and Brewing house, in addition to a blacksmith shop.

After we left the grounds of the fort we went to see the Soldiers' cemetery besides the Welcome Center. The cemetery contains 65 graves, including 17 marked as the final resting places of British soldiers who were stationed at Fort King George. It is interesting to note that not a single death was the result of a battle wound. However, there is a big stone marker to honor all the soldiers who served and died at the fort.

Before leaving, we visited the small museum inside the Welcome center which had the usual exhibits describing the history of the fort.

Fort King George has been placed on the US National Register of Historic Places, and rightly so, because as I've mentioned at the beginning of this review, history can educate and be a useful lesson for future generations of any nation.
Signboard just outside the entrance
Welcome to Fort King George
Visitor Center at Fort King George
Side view of the Visitor Center
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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Cho says:
@FoxyFauz: Thank you for your compliments and also for the smiles on my photos.
Posted on: Sep 10, 2015
FoxyFauz says:
that was a comprehensive coverage of the site! very informative :)
Posted on: Sep 10, 2015
Cho says:
Thank you Bill. I also read your own review of the fort which I think was even better than mine!
Posted on: Aug 29, 2015

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photo by: Zagnut66