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Fort Gaines

The well-preserved ramparts of Fort Gaines have guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay for more than 150 years. Now a historic site, the Fort stands at the eastern tip of Dauphin Island where it commands panoramic views of the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The Fort was recently designated as one of the Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites in America due to on-going shoreline erosion.

Fort Gaines is one of the key sites in the famous Battle of Mobile Bay where Admiral Farragut shouted his now-famous order, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” The fort has original cannons, a blacksmith shop, kitchens, a museum, gift shop, and tunnels. Fort Gaines provides guided tours for groups of 15 people are more with at least two weeks in advanced notice for booking and that they are done by our own soldier in period uniform which will bring history to life including cannon firing demonstration and blacksmithing.

Hours & Rates

Hours of Operation: 9 AM to 5 PM

The Fort will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. 

Admission:
Children (Ages 5 -12) are $5.00
Adults (Ages 13+) are $10.00

Group rates are available.

To schedule a group tour, please contact Melinda Oalmann at 251-861-6992.

Friends of Fort Gaines

Honor & Remember your Friends & Family

The Dauphin Island Park & Beach Board is a non-profit public corporation. We provide you with outdoor recreational facilities without receiving any tax dollars. In 2010, Historic Fort Gaines was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” You can help preserve and restore this important monument to all the brave soldiers who fought and sacrificed in the American Civil War. Join us and become a Friends of Fort Gaines! Friends of Fort Gaines offer a unique memorial program to honor and remember your friends, family, or commemorate an event. With the Friends of Fort Gaines Program, individuals can contribute towards the ongoing preservation of Fort Gaines. Donations allow for the periodic replacement of bricks and motor, help to restore the original buildings, and rebuild the cannon carriages.

Your donations are a tremendous support and are always welcomed. All donations help us with the ongoing preservation of historic Fort Gaines for future generations and together we can make a difference!

Pleases mail donations to:

109 Bienville Blvd
Dauphin Island, AL

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History of Dauphin Island

The well-preserved ramparts of Fort Gaines have guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay for more than 150 years. Now a historic site, the Fort stands at the eastern tip of Dauphin Island where it commands panoramic views of the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The Fort was recently designated as one of the Eleven Most Endangered Historic Sites in America due to on-going shoreline erosion.

Long before Spanish and French explorers reached these shores, Dauphin Island was popular with Native Americans who came there to fish, hunt and gather oysters and other shellfish that grew in profusion in Mobile bay. Traces of their presence can still be seen today at Shell Mound Park on the Island’s north shore.

When the French landed on Dauphin Island in 1699, they found so many skeletons scattered on the beach that they thought a massacre had taken place there. The French named the island “Massacre Island” and established a settlement on the island. The colony was raided by pirates in 1711, but the settlement survived. By 1717, Dauphin Island was the home of the French Governor General of Louisiana, who lived in a home at today’s Cadillac Square. It was the French, in fact, who gave the island its name, after a member of French royalty, “Dauphine.”

The island passed through British and Spanish hands before becoming part of the United States. To defend its new territory of Alabama, the government built Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island between 1819 and 1853.The fort played an important role in the Battle of Mobile Bay and it was within sight of its walls that Union Admiral David G. Farragut issued his immortal command, “Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!” After Farragut and his ships forced their way into the bay, Union soldiers laid siege to Fort Gaines, which surrendered on August 8, 1864.

Dauphin Island has emerged as one of the most beautiful and peaceful settings on the Gulf Coast. The island today is a resort area, famed for its beaches and fishing. Dauphin Island offers beautiful beaches, pristine environments, coastal amenities and a rich history. It is truly a jewel of the Gulf Coast.