National Museum of Aerospace

The Archer Historical Society Presents The Annual Yulee Railroad Day’s Celebration.

The Archer Historical Society’s newly developed plan for the Yulee Railroad Day’s Celebration, is to coordinate concurrent linear events in all of the towns along the original Florida Railroad’s right-of-way, connected by runs, relays, parades etc. Initially it is planned to extend accross all of Alachua County celebrating the 150th anniversary of Yulee’s visionary railroad which was chartered in 1853 and crossed Florida in the next 6 years. The event is expected to grow each year, with new events and locations being added until the event extends accross the state, coast to coast, from Fernandina Beach to Cedar Key Florida. We will be having a 150 year anniversary every year for the next 8 years until we mark the date 150 years after it was completed at Cedar Key.

  • History

    The Archer Historical Society was chartered on August 18, 1977 with seventy-four Charter Members. Prior to 1850, a town called Deer Hammock was established where the town of Archer is today. In 1858 The Florida Town Improvement Company, owned by the Florida Railroad Company, laid out a town here and named it Archer after General James T. Archer Florida's first Secretary of State (1845-49). The first trains stopped in Archer in 1859. The first human occupants in the area were Paleo Indians, who made camps near Archer approximately ten thousand years ago. The only evidence left of these early people are spearheads, scrapers and other stone tools.

  • Mission

    The purpose of the organization is to preserve and protect those artifacts and structures peculiar to our heritage, to allow our progeny the privilege of enjoying those things upon which our nation, our state, and our community were founded. Also to provide the community of Archer with an organization for young and old alike, with a common goal, thereby promoting unity, friendship and understanding among the citizens of our town.

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    1220 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029, USA
  • Phone Number
    352-495-1044
  • Email Address
    dentonph@loquet.net
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  • Establishment Date
    1985-09-13
  • Collection Size
    2.6 million
  • Area
    807,000 sq ft (75,000 m2) in 94 galleries
  • Visitors
    1,124,759 (2021)
  • Opening Hours Weekdays
    9:30 - 18:00
  • Opening Hours Saturday
    9:30 - 20:00
  • Opening Hours Sunday
    Closed
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Fortification of Leros


Among the islands of the Dodecanese, Leros, due to its geographical position in the eastern Mediterranean and its special morphology, was chosen for the creation of Italy's main air and naval base in the Dodecanese.

The purpose was purely strategic: the fortification of Leros and the creation of a large military base ensured the Italians control of an area of ​​vital interest to the Great Powers. This Base, according to the planning, would have facilities for the Navy, the Air Force and the Army, as well as the necessary workshops of private companies manufacturing military equipment.

The main construction projects of the Italians in Leros, for the fortification and defense of the island, were carried out as early as 1923 and were completed at the end of the 1930s.

Among these are:

  • "Gianni Rossetti" Seaplane Base in the area of ​​Lepida 
  • Submarine Base in the adjacent area of ​​Aghios Georgios
  • New town of Portolago (nowadays Lakki), created in order to cover the housing needs created by the construction of the Aeronautical Base
  • Centro Radio Lero – the installation of the Italian telecommunications center in the area of ​​Aghios Nikolaos in Lakki
  • The headquarters of FAM - DICAT, the “FAM -  Fronte A Mare” - Coastal Defense Command and the “DICAT - Difesa Contraerea Territoriale” -  Anti-Aircraft Land Defense Command on Mount Patella, with the unique installation of the Aerophone and the Acoustic - Parabolic Wall

Along with the other defense installations of Leros, the fortification of the island with artillery began already in the mid-1920s, initially mainly for naval defense. Gradually, until the middle and mainly at the end of the 1930s, 103 guns of caliber from 76mm to 152mm were installed on almost all the heights of Leros, most of them from decommissioned battleships and cruisers of the Italian Navy from WW I, composing a network of 25 batteries, responsible for the defense of the island, both from the sea and from the air. Along with the construction of the gun emplacements, other military facilities were developed in each artillery barracks, such as material and ammunition storages, shelters, barracks and logistics buildings, as well as various other facilities. The defense network of Leros is considered a model of interwar fortification architecture (1918 – 1939).

Especially since 1936, when military zones were officially created on the island, fenced with barbed wire, the mountains and heights of Leros acquired a purely military character. The granting of compensation stops, since the cutting of the bushes was first prohibited by decree, and thus the fields were turned into forest land, and by extension they are considered the property of the Italian State. Thus, livestock breeders and farmers, losing their properties, are forced to resort to day labor, since there is indeed a lack of labor force, due to the excessive number of projects in progress. For the construction of the defense and public works of Leros, artisans are transferred from Italy, with a daily wage of 40-50 italian lire, while the Greeks receive 6-10 italian lire.

The outbreak of World War II led to the expansion and improvement, on a large scale, of military installations, but this was opposed to economic criteria and above all the lack of availability of means and the difficulties in maritime transportations. The serious shortcomings of the hasty Italian military preparation led to the dispersion of the scarce available means in many areas, all of them of high importance and therefore did not allow the care imposed on any of them.

Thus, in the Dodecanese, although the level of preparation could be described as satisfactory, in relation to infrastructure and logistics facilities, the field of armaments, and especially that of Artillery, lagged far behind, since the Dodecanese had been sent almost exclusively old-style and dissimilar weapons caliber, which did not allow the organization of defense to develop to a sufficient and satisfactory degree, which will have a huge impact on the events of September - November 1943.

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