Photographer's Note

It’s time for a more historical post. :-) During the early days of New York City, there were various forts built to protect the harbor. The one in this photo, Castle Clinton, sat on a man-made island just off the shore of southern Manhattan in what is now Battery Park. That small island was eventually connected to the mainland, and Castle Clinton has sat inside the park ever since. It is made of sandstone, and has a mostly circular shape.

In 1805, there were growing tensions between Britain and the U.S., marking the run-up to the War of 1812. Construction on Castle Clinton began in 1808, and was completed in 1811. Inside were 28 cannons aimed out the small windows towards the harbor. About one-eighth of the circle was left unfinished, and a straight wall connected the unfinished parts. The fort was ready, but it never saw action in any war.

The US Army stopped using Castle Clinton in 1821, and in 1824 it was leased to the city of New York as a public entertainment venue. It was used as a beer garden, restaurant, exhibition hall, opera house, and theater.

From 1855 to 1890, Castle Clinton served as the first immigration station in the United States. More than eight million immigrants were processed there, until immigration procedures were moved to Ellis Island.

Next, this versatile space served as the New York City aquarium from 1896 to 1941. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s there were plans to tear it down, but thankfully that never happened. The old fort was saved, and renovated in the 1970’s. It reopened in 1975 as the ticket center for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There is a small history exhibit inside, and a replica cannon.

It’s great to have this historic structure from the city’s past, with modern skyscrapers from lower Manhattan soaring around it.

In the WS are two additional views.

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Additional Photos by Brenda Elaine (worldcitizen) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1785 W: 289 N: 3532] (13082)
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