Castle Clinton

New York City, United States

Castle Clinton


Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton, previously known as Castle Garden, is a circular sandstone fort located in Battery Park, in Manhattan, New York City. Built from 1808 to 1811, it was the first American immigration station (predating Ellis Island), where more than 8 million people arrived in the United States from 1855 to 1890. Over its active life, it has also functioned as a beer garden, exhibition hall, theater, and public aquarium. Castle Clinton National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

Castle Clinton stands slightly west of where Fort Amsterdam was built in 1626, when New York City was known by the Dutch name New Amsterdam. Fort Amsterdam was demolished by 1790 after the American Revolutionary War. Proposals for a new fort were made after two separate war scares involving Britain and France in the 1790s, but neither plan was ultimately carried out. By 1805, there were growing tensions between Britain and the U.S., which would mark the run-up to the War of 1812. Late that year, Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Williams of the United States Army Engineers began planning a series of fortifications in New York Harbor. Williams was part of a group of three commissioners who, in 1807, submitted a report that recommended the construction of fortifications in New York Harbor.

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