Fort King
Fort King (also known as Camp King or Cantonment King) was a United States military fort in north central Florida. It was named after Colonel William King, commander of Florida's Fourth Infantry and the first governor of the provisional West Florida region. The fort was built in 1827, and became the genesis of the city of Ocala. Located near the corner of East Fort King Street and 39th Avenue in Ocala, the site is a U.S. National Historic Landmark (designated as such on February 24, 2004).


Archaeological investigations have indicated that the area was inhabited prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the area. At least two periods of occupation have been identified: between 6500 and 2000 B.C., and 200 to 1500 A.D.

The fort
Fort King was constructed in 1827 as a buffer between the Seminoles (to the south in the Moultrie Creek Treaty reservation area) and whites settling in the region. It sat at the nexus of a system of military roads. From the fort, one could travel easily (for the era) on the Fort King Road to Fort Brooks (near Orange Springs), Fort McCoy, a ford at the St. Johns River which would become the town of Astor, Palatka, Jacksonville, and Fort Brooke (on Tampa Bay), amongst others. It subsequently fell into disuse after 1829. In 1832, the fort was active again to help in the relocation of the Seminoles westward as part of the Treaty of Payne's Landing. The Second Seminole War, beginning in 1835, made the fort one of the most important during the next seven years, due to its strategic location. Abandoned for nearly a year between mid- 1836 to early 1837 after the Seminoles burned it, the fort still remained functional until the war's end in 1842. After the founding of Marion County, the fort became its first courthouse in 1844. Eventually, though, the building was abandoned for the last time, and the fort deconstructed to provide building material for the early residents.

Today there are no signs of the fort, and the site is undeveloped, vacant land, in the middle of a residential area. Two historical markers exist, one marking the approximate location of the fort itself, the other at the cemetery for it. Some of the area is publicly owned, and some is private.