The Castillo de San Marco was built by the Spanish from 1672-1695. The were made of coquina stone and were able to sustain mortar shells. Many cannons were placed along the walls. The moat around the fort is empty. Placing water in the moat would cause the stone to coquina to crack. When standing ground level to the fort, the moat is not visible to the eye. This feature was used to catch attackers off guard. The Spanish controlled the fort until 1763 when control switched to the English. While under English control the fort was called Ft. Marion. From 1784 to 1821 the Spanish once again owned the fort until the Americans took it in 1821. The Americans used the fort as a prison to house the indian leaders of the American-Indian Wars.
The Bridge of Lions connects St. Augustine and Anastasia Island by crossing the Matanzas River. An old wooden toll bridge built in 1895 served as the only access to Anastasia Island from St. Augustine until the construction of the Bridge of Lions. In 1904 the wooden bridge was fitted with an electric trolley line. In 1925 construction to build a modern, high-quality bridge was started. The Bridge of Lions known to us today was opened for traffic in 1927. The drawbridge allows passage of commercial and recreational boats. The Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Florida's first lighthouse was established in 1824. Juan Andreau was selected as the first lightkeeper. In 1855 the US government replaced the Winslow Lewis Argand lamps, which were used for illumination originally, with a 4th order Fresnel lens. In the late 1860's, the US government determined that the foundation of the lighthouse was being threatened by the encroaching ocean. The lighthouse was extinguished for good on October 15, 1874.
Fort Matanzas and St. Augustine have been interwined greatly in history. The Spanish massacred French soldiers in 1565 begin their struggle to establish a colony in Florida. In 1740-1742 Spain built Fort Matanzas to try ward off British advancements. The fort protected St. Augustines backdoor. Both structures represent Spains foothold in Florida's history.