Little-Known Downtown Places: Fort George

Posted: Jan 05, 2018 07:49 pm Updated: Oct 17, 2023 10:40 am

A small park at the intersection of Palafox and LaRua Streets in downtown Pensacola is the site of an often overlooked, but historically significant landmark. Fort George was built atop Gage Hill by the British when they occupied Pensacola between 1763-81. The site can easily be seen today by looking up Palafox Street from downtown. Fort George was the largest of a trio of fortifications on the hill, along with the Queen's Redoubt and the Prince of Wales Redoubt. 

In 1781, a Spanish and French fleet led by Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez, Governor General of Spanish Louisiana, arrived off the mouth of Pensacola Bay, and Fort George was surrendered to Spanish forces in the Siege of Pensacola and renamed Fort San Miguel (Fort St. Michael). 

The fort was a major target during the Battle of Pensacola in 1814, one of the least known yet most significant battles of the American Revolution.

Remnants of both the British and Spanish forts were found by archaeologists during excavations in the 1970's, and a portion of Fort George was reconstructed as a park.  The remains of the Fort, located between Jackson and La Rua on the western side of Palafox St. (next to the Knights of Columbus Hall, across from First Baptist Church), are free and open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fort George's breezy, cool location on a hill overlooking downtown Pensacola make the site an excellent place to enjoy the history of the city even on the hottest summer days.

Fort George Park, at the intersection of Palafox and La Rua, includes displays and interpretive panels on the history of the fort, a marker detailing the Battle of Pensacola, and the reconstructed section of ramparts featuring two 18th century British cannon. The rest of the site is located beneath houses and other structures.