The Fort East Martello Museum & Gardens in Key West(Key West Art & Historical Society)
Key West, FL
Designed after the nearly impregnable coastal Martello watchtowers in Italy, the Fort East Martello was never completed and never saw hostile action. Its outer bulwark and inner citadel with eight-foot thick granite walls built during the Civil War era were a monument to military engineering and could have withstood any amount of bombardment at the time. But the development of explosive shells made these defenses passé. Today its casemates, citadel and courtyard are home to a vast collection of Key West and Key's artifacts and historical records as well a military memorabilia. The view from atop the central tower affords visitors a spectacular panorama of the Atlantic coast of Key West. In the garden an 80-year-old playhouse provides children with insight into how kids lived and played in old Key West. Inside the galleries are the state's largest collections of painted wood carvings and drawings by Mario Sanchez and the scrap metal "junk" sculpture of Stanley Papio, both of whom are internationally renowned folk artists from the Keys.
It is the best-preserved example of the Martello style of military architecture in the country.
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