|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 11/14/2019
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|The West Martello Tower (also known as the Key West Garden Club) is a historic martello tower in Key West. On June 24, 1976, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.|
West Martello Tower, also known as the Key West Garden Club, is one of the island's last remaining free tourist attractions. Plants are donated and maintained by members and volunteers. In addition to simply emjoying the gardens and old mini-fort, West Martello Tower provides educational opportunities for the community relating to tropical gardening and to the tower, a National Historic site where the Club is located.
Martello towers, sometimes known simply as Martellos, are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards. Most were coastal forts.
They stand up to 40 feet high (with two floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15–25 men. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof and able to traverse, and hence fire over, a complete 360° circle. A few towers had moats or other batteries and works attached for extra defence.
Building of the West Martello Tower, which was part of the defense of Fort Zachary Taylor, began in 1863 but was never completed.