Fort Christmas
Historical Park

Fort Christmas is located in Christmas, Florida just off State Road 50, twenty miles east of Orlando enroute to Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Canaveral National Seashore in Titusville.

Fort Christmas Historical Park Origins

  Emmett O. Tanner, Sr., became an Orange County Commissioner of the eastern district on January 20, 1930.  A descendant of a pioneer family in Christmas, he was instrumental in working with Mike Smith who deeded ten acres to Orange County on June 6, 1930, for a community park.  This site had been used for many years as a gathering place for the local people to have picnics, reunions and special occasions and was known as the Old Picnic Grounds.  Later the park was expanded when ten acres was purchased from Leonard & Dorothy Chenoweth and five acres from Margaret Vickery.

Orange County constructed the present fort in the Park as a bicentennial project.  Jay Blanchard, Superintendent of Orange County Parks at the time, was instrumental in getting funds for the venture allocated.  A groundbreaking ceremony took place on December 17, 1975 and was completed and dedicated on December 17 1977, "to Americans of all races who fought and died on this land so long ago, the Indians who faced overwhelming odds in defending their lands, the soldiers who fought a dangerous and honorable foe, the black slaves who came seeking freedom and fiercely fought to remain free persons and Florida pioneers who moved from the north to a new land of opportunity."

From this small beginning emerged a Master Plan, finely honed by the community, to create a living history site.  This plan involved the preservation of several old homes from the area which are representative of East Orange County pioneer lifestyles.

The Orange County Parks and Recreation Department operate the Museum and Park.  In addition to tours, groups can reserve pavilions for a fee.  Other amenities include the playground, softball field and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, along with picnic tables and grills.    

The above came from our book "History of Fort Christmas."


palyground pavilion fair
ball field basketball court office


To Fort Christmas homepage




 


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