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History Comes To Life At Fort Frederica National Monument


A lime rick -- stacks of logs holding racks of shells -- will be burned at Fort Frederica National Monument on November 19 as part of a living history demonstration. NPS photo.

It marked, in history, the last stand of the Spanish in present-day Georgia. Today Fort Frederica holds little more than ruins on St. Simons Island along the Georgia coast. But you can get a feel for 18th century life there during a living history presentation at Fort Frederica National Monument on November 19.

Once a bustling town with a fort for protection, Fort Frederica was home to roughly 1,000 people in the 1730s and 1740s. It was established by James Oglethorpe to protect the southern boundary of his new colony of Georgia from the Spanish in Florida.

In 1742, Spanish forces from Florida and Cuba landed on the island, intent on driving out the British. However, an attack on a Spanish reconnaisance party at Gully Hole Creek
led to the battle at "Bloody Marsh."

Despite the name, casualties were light and the Spanish continued their campaign on St. Simons, according to Park Service historians. Clever deception on Oglethorpe's part convinced the Spanish to retreat from Georgia seven days later, they add.

These days bleaching ruins dot the landscape of Fort Frederica. The site remains difficult to comprehend; its stories shrouded in a mysterious history, say park historians.

In an effort to bring this history dramatically to life, the monument is hosting a living history encampment featuring the stories of settlers and soldiers. The program will feature soldiers from the 42nd Regiment of Foot drilling and demonstrating their military skills. Musket and cannon firing demonstrations will help highlight the stories of individual soldiers' roles in fighting for British rights to Georgia - and their own survival.

Away from the bustle of military life, living history interpreters representing the townspeople of Frederica will demonstrate period crafts and trades. Visitors can see candlemakers, clothiers, and dyers ply their trade on the original Frederica lots where those trades occurred.  Carpenters and leatherworkers will show their trades and explain how Frederica was well stocked with the trades a young colonial town needed.

In the evening the burning of a lime rick -- stacked logs laden with racks of oysters -- will be the backdrop for an evening of storytelling and history. The intense heat of the fire breaks down the shells into lime. It was this source of lime that allowed Frederica's settlers to build tabby homes that were so durable that ruins still mark the site's where Frederica's settlers lived, according to park officials.

"This full day of events is a great way to get a grasp on Frederica's history," says Fort Frederica Superintendent Mary Beth Wester. "To make this type of event happen, the National Park Service is fortunate to have great partners like our dedicated volunteers, the Jekyll Island Museum, and Castillo de San Marcos National Monument."

The Fall Encampment and Lime Rick Burn will occur on November 19. During the day the camps will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. The park will close at 5 p.m. and reopen at 6 p.m. The lime rick burn begins at 7 p.m.

Entrance fees will be charged (adults 16 years old plus, $3, children 15 years and younger, free admission). National Park passes are valid for this program.

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