Named “Best Beach for Families” by USA Today, Fort De Soto Park is a well-known retreat. But 100 years ago, life for U.S. Army troops stationed there was anything but a picnic.
Hordes of mosquitoes constantly swarmed, making it tough for the 125 troops to be outside. In 1908, the quartermaster described the men’s lives as tortuous, noting that “the mosquitoes have to be fought with a bush continuously whether at work or resting.”
Visit Battery Laidley to see the last four surviving carriage-mounted 12-inch seacoast mortars in the continental U.S. (Mosquito repellent is optional.)