Presented By Edward England
England, a former Air Force engineer/program manager, is a native Key Wester and author/publisher of five books highlighting the history of Fort Taylor and the legacy of his father. Howard England’s odyssey of exploration and discovery at Fort Taylor began in 1968 when he was directed by the Commander of the Naval Station to determine the value of what was then the Navy’s Junkyard. He continued his volunteer work at the Fort for the next eight years until the property was taken over by the State of Florida to be made into a state park. While it was still a junkyard, the Fort was named a National Historic Site in 1971 and a National Landmark in 1973.
For eight and a half years, Howard England was the Curator in Charge of this valuable historical site working much of the time by himself on what became his passion. When he retired from the Florida Park Service in 1984, he was asked why he had worked so diligently, he responded, “Someone had to do it, and that someone was me.”
Edward England’s latest book, The Fort Zach Guidebook, was published in January 2017. It is the first guidebook written to highlight the history and natural beauty of Key West’s unique, internationally-known attraction. It is intended to showcase what even many Key West “locals” don’t realize – that there is more to the park than just its great beach. The Guidebook is divided into six major sections covering every aspect of the park: from the layout and features of the park, to the history and significance of Fort Taylor, to the park’s natural attractions, to the park’s supporting organizations, and to other historical attractions nearby on the island.
History buffs and other interested parties will find England’s noon-time presentation fascinating as he covers Howard England’s contributions and legacy that have endured and grown over the 50 years since he turned over the first shovel full of sand. Little did he know what would be found buried in the rubble of the 1898 “remodeling” of the Fort.