• Beach walkway to white sandy beach and bluegreen waters

    Gulf Islands

    National Seashore FL,MS

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  • Partial Closure on Horn Island

    Small portion of Horn Island, Mississippi, closed to entry due to discovery of asbestos and possible other bio hazards. Click on more for map and press release. More »

  • Shorebirds Nesting Near Roads - 20 mph

    Shorebirds are nesting near roads and cross the road regularly. Observe posted speed limits and be alert for tiny birds on the roads. Last year 155 birds were killed on park roads, help us reduce the mortality rate of these beautiful birds and go slow.

Fort Massachusetts

Graceful red brick arches form the interior of Fort Massachusetts.
Fort Massachusetts
NPS photo
 

Historic Fort Massachusetts is on West Ship Island, a barrier island 12 miles off the Mississippi Coast. The island is accessible only by private boat or passenger ferry.

Rangers will present a variety of programs including fort talks and island walks. For more information call 228-875-9057 x 4100.

Fort Massachusetts was built on Ship Island for national defense. Both domestic and foreign powers recognized the strategic significance of the natural deep water harbor on the north side of the island. After lengthy debate fort construction began in the summer of 1859. Storms, disease, climate, isolation and the Civil War made construction on this remote barrier island a challenge. Construction on Fort Massachusetts halted in 1866 although the fort was not fully completed.

The fort has not only withstood actions of war but also the more subtle enemies of time and neglect. The devastating and powerful Hurricanes Camille (1969) and Katrina (2005) washed over and through the building but failed to significantly undermine the structure.

Did You Know?

Geronimo

In the 1880s, Geronimo and other members of the Chiricahua-Apache tribe were prisoners at Fort Pickens located at Gulf Islands National Seashore.