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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New York in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Lives of Castle Clinton:

Defense, Entertainment, Immigration, Education

 
 
The Lives of Castle Clinton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
1. The Lives of Castle Clinton Marker
Inscription. In 1790 the Common Council of the City of New York authorized the removal of stone and soil from Fort George and the Grand Battery to fill in the pier line along the Battery. Beginning in 1808, the defenses of the city were extended out into the harbor through the construction of new forts on Bedloes (Liberty) Island, Ellis Island, Governorís Island, and on an island just 200 feet off the tip of Manhattan, known as the South-West Battery. Together, these forts with their heavy armament discouraged the British from attacking New York City during the War of 1812. The South-West Battery was renamed Castle Clinton in honor of Mayor DeWitt Clinton, becoming the headquarters of the Third Military District.

While its military importance declined, Castle Clintonís value as a delightful location for recreation on the harbor increased. In 1824 it was leased by the City of New York as a place of public entertainment and renamed Castle Garden. Within a month of its opening, the Marquis de Lafayette landed here at the start of his triumphal tour of America. Presidential visits by Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Milliard Fillmore followed. The public was entertained and informed by a balloon ascension, F.B. Morseís telegraph demonstration, and concerts such as Jenny Lindís American debut.

In 1855, Castle Garden was leased by the State
Marker in Lower Manhattan image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
2. Marker in Lower Manhattan
A section of the Battery Wall is located directly in front of the marker.
of New York to serve as the first immigrant landing depot in the United States. As the flow of immigrants became a flood following the political unrest in Europe of the 1840s and the famine in Ireland, New York took responsibility for providing immigrants with essential services such as health care, employment and transportation. More than eight million people had entered through Castle Garden by the time of its closure in 1890. The Federal government assumed responsibility for immigration control soon after, and a larger immigrant receiving facility was built on Ellis Island. Go to CastleGarden.org to see if your ancestors were among these early immigrants.

The growing demand for public education facilities and programs led to the next adaptation of Castle Clinton. The building was altered once again and re-opened in 1896 as the New York City Aquarium. Millions of visitors enjoyed seeing aquatic creatures from local waters and around the world. The Aquarium was closed in 1941 in order to make way for a new Brooklyn-Battery subway tunnel.

It was through the demolition of the Aquarium that the original walls of Castle Garden were revealed to the public. A determined group of preservationists accepted the challenges of preventing its complete destruction, leading to the designation of Castle Clinton as a National Monument following World War II.

In a similar
Markers in Castle Clinton image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
3. Markers in Castle Clinton
This is one in a series of markers in the "Walls within Walls" exhibit in Castle Clinton. The Lives of Castle Clinton marker is the rightmost marker in the photo.
fashion, it is the same current subway excavation that has unearthed the Battery walls and claimed for them a place on the National Register of Historic Places. It is through this ever-present need for improved transportation and safety that we have been reconnected with our past and have recognized the great the great historical importance of our surrounding walls.
 
Erected by Castle Clinton National Monument.
 
Location. 40° 42.221′ N, 74° 1.018′ W. Marker is in New York, New York, in New York County. Marker can be reached from State Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is located inside Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10004, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battery Wall Discovery (here, next to this marker); History of the Battery Wall (here, next to this marker); Norwegian Maritime Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Emma Lazarus (within shouting distance of this marker); New York Korean War Veterans Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Castle Clinton National Monument
Excavated Battery Wall image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
4. Excavated Battery Wall
This actual section of the Battery wall excavated on November 8, 2005 is from a colonial wall constructed sometime between 1730 and 1766.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Manning Castle Clintonís 28 guns (within shouting distance of this marker); Castle Clinton (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New York.
 
More about this marker. The right side of the marker contains a time line of Castle Clinton, containing pictures of it during various points in its history. These include the Castle as West Battery in 1812, Castle Garden as an Immigration Landing Depot in 1855, the New York Aquarium interior on 1900, and the 1948 demolition of the New York Aquarium.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. These markers are in the "Walls within Walls" exhibit in Castle Clinton National Monument.
 
Also see . . .
1. Americaís First Immigration Center. CastleGarden.org website. (Submitted on June 27, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Castle Clinton National Monument – History & Culture. National Park Service website. (Submitted on June 27, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. EducationForts, Castles
 
Castle Clinton image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
5. Castle Clinton
Castle Clinton National Monument is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Cannon at Castle Clinton image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, June 24, 2009
6. Cannon at Castle Clinton
Early in its history, Castle Clinton was manned by 28 guns such as this one.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 27, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 976 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 27, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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