I have such a fascination with the brick fortresses of Florida and Georgia I sometimes wonder if I'm channeling feelings from a past life. More likely I'm just astounded by the beauty and incredible waste of these structures. They were built so strong yet rendered useless in such a short time. Fort Pickens is one of many I've toured with my daughter. Even though this fort has a longer history than most, it is still a relic never to be more in the future than a tourist attraction.
The bricks fired to create it could have been churches, warehouses, bridges, restaurants, skyscrapers, apartments, or even homes. But no, they were created to defend a political agenda then destroyed or abandoned by a sudden advance in technology.
What is left behind is a footnote in history that barely registers the tremendous human effort and sacrifice to create them. I stayed at a beautiful beach hotel then drove my car right up to the fort and walked in through the gaping hole in the wall, completely mosquito free. When you look at the history of these structures, the remoteness of these places, no towns of any size, no roads, the obstacles and hardships to build them, it staggers the imagination.
And all to advance a way of life where we complain if the WiFi is slow at the local coffee shop. Maybe we all should be required to lay a ton of bricks in a collective local monument. A place where we can bring our children and grandchildren to and say - "look - Those bricks there - I laid those" Something that will stand when we are long gone. A monument of peace added to year after year.
I can't visit this place without taking a photo across the river of the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum. I worked with someone for many years who's father grew up there as his father worked there as a light keeper. More importantly my daughter worked there as a museum tour guide. A much better use of bricks if you ask me.
[click here] for more photos of Fort Pickens.