Fort Clinch was named for Gen. Duncan Lamont Clinch, an important figure in Florida's Seminole War of the 1830's. Construction of the fort by the federal government started in 1847, and continued during the Civil War. Occupied by Confederate forces when the war began in 1861, the fort was taken by federal troops when a withdrawal was ordered by Gen. Robert E. Lee the following year. The garrison operation was greatly reduced in the years following the Civil War and eventually ceased altogether. In 1898, the fort was re-activated for several months during the Spanish-American War. Today, it remains in a remarkable state of preservation.
In 1935. the state of Florida purchased 256 acres, which included the abandoned fort. It was the beginning of a program to acquire adjacent lands and began development of one the first and finest state parks in Florida. The Civilian Conservation Corps was responsible for the initial building and development of the park. It was formally opened to the public in 1938. The park offers picnicking, camping, saltwater fishing, shelling, hiking, nature study and living history as well as other interpretive programs.
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