Fort Fanning

Construction and Strategic Importance

Fort Fanning was named after Major Alexander Campbell Wilder Fanning, and was constructed in November 1838, during the The Second Seminole War (1835-1842). The Fort was developed to protect the highly strategic and heavily utilized crossing of the Suwannee River (pictured below).




Fanning Springs Park Suwannee03.jpg
US 19/98 bridge over the Suwannee River near Fanning Springs State Park, in Fanning Springs, Florida

 

Soldiers who occupied Fort Fanning

After Fort Fanning was built, Soldiers populated it for nearly 5 years, throughout which time around 31 soldiers died in or near the fort.

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Fort Fanning historical park

1 died from drowning; 2 died from a fatal wound previously incurred; 1 was shot dead and the other 27 died from contracting disease. It is assumed all were buried near the fort, just off Highway 19 (about 250 yards from the road).

Early Settlement of the Town

The original settlement of the town around Fort Fanning (now known as Fanning Springs) was named both “Palmetto” and “Sikesville”.

  • 1846 / 1847 – Post office established – Postmaster – Thomas C Love
  • 1852 – Post office discontinued
  • 1855 – Post office re-established
  • 1857 – Town renamed “Sikesville”
  • 1860s – Town abandoned
  • 1888 – Town reinstated and named “Fannin” after Major Fanning
  • 1906 – Post office service was moved to nearby town of Trenton

As time went on, more and more people began arriving in the Fanning. Fanning provided abundant in resources for new settlers and their families. Hunting, farming, fishing and timber was plentiful.

A ferry service was setup, which connected one side of Suwannee to the other and remained until a wooden turnbridge and subsequently a modern steel bridge was built in 1935.

Finally a four lane bridge made of concrete was added and remains there to this day.