Saturday, March 26, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 267: Take the kids to Fort Morgan

View from the upper level of Fort Morgan.
As best that I can remember, I’d been to Fort Morgan once or twice in the past, and it’s a place that I’ve wanted to take my kids for as long as I can remember. Several years ago, I put a trip with my kids to Fort Morgan on my “bucket list,” and we finally took the time to take them down there this past Saturday. It was more than a little fulfilling to finally scratch this item off my list of places I want to take my kids.

Fort Morgan is located in Baldwin County, Ala., almost directly across Mobile Bay from Fort Gaines. Back in the old days, both forts were used to protect the entrance to the bay, which led to Alabama’s only significant port, Mobile. Both forts eventually fell out of military use and are now museums.

Fort Morgan was designed by architect Simon Bernard and was constructed in various stages between 1819 and 1834. The fort was used during the War of 1812, the Civil War and on up through the end of World War II. It was named a National Historic Landmark on Dec. 19, 1960 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Oct. 15, 1966.

Fort Morgan also has a reputation for being notoriously haunted. During the Civil War’s Battle of Mobile Bay, Union troops laid siege to and eventually captured Fort Morgan and a lot of soldiers on both sides died during the siege. Since then, visitors to the fort claim to see ghostly soldiers in uniform walking the grounds in and around the old fort.

Fort Morgan is also supposedly haunted by the spirit of a soldier (or prisoner) who hung himself in the fort. Others say that on some nights you can hear the screams of soldiers who were killed in an accidental explosion inside the fort. Others claim that the spirit of a woman who was murdered inside the fort during the 1800s still roams the fort late at night.

We didn’t see any ghosts or anything else out of the ordinary during out trip to Fort Morgan, but we did have a good time exploring this sizable fort. We took our time and walked all along the upper portions of the fort and then roamed all around the ground level sections of the fort. We weren’t by ourselves either because a fair number of other tourists were also there visiting the fort.

Before leaving, we also walked down the short trail from the fort to the beach, where the kids ran along and picked up shells. Despite steady winds and cool temperatures, a few people were their enjoying the beach. Altogether, we probably spent 30 to 45 minutes checking out the beach. During this time, I spotted a trail head and promised myself that I’d return some day to hike the trails in and around Fort Morgan.

In the end, how many of you have ever been to Fort Morgan? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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