GULF BREEZE — The National Park Service has determined the next steps in the preservation of historic Tower 234 at the Fort Pickens Area. The tower, used to direct the firing of battery guns, and Battery 234. It was once one of many located on Santa Rosa Island and Perdido Key.

Constructed of steel, the tower supports a two-story concrete observation booth weighing over 113,000 pounds. It is in critical need of preservation. A 2018 inspection found its structural integrity questionable, forcing the park to close the area around it. The inspection was an early step to restore and re-open the tower to the public.

Following a careful review by outside engineering experts, the National Park Service has identified the next steps to be completed in order to reopen the Battery Cooper Loop Road.
1. Document the tower based on the guidelines of the Historic American Engineering Record. This work will include 3D laser scanning of the structure.
2. Temporarily remove the concrete observation booth from the tower. Removing this booth will significantly lessen the chances of the tower collapsing.

Both steps will likely take several months to complete.  It is critical for visitor safety that they remain out of the closed area.

“Tower 234 and the batteries surrounding it are important historic (sites) of the Fort Pickens Area,” said Superintendent Dan Brown. “Safety of our visitors is our top priority, and we believe these steps will keep our visitors safe and allow us to preserve the tower in the most appropriate way.”