Governors Island in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Changing with the Times
A Place Worth Protecting
During the Revolutionary War, a British maritime force captured New York. In the early days of independence that followed the war, the federal government constructed a series of forts in the harbor. Their job was to safeguard the port against future attacks. Castle Williams, built from 1807 to 1811, was one of them.
New York was never attacked. But the stone fort would serve the nation in changing ways.
[ Side 2 ]
A Show of Force
Over time, as the forts played less of a role in protecting the harbor and the city, an army post evolved around them. By the 1870s, Governors Island became a major U.S. Army headquarters and by 1930, it was home to over 3,000 soldiers, officers, and their families.
“Even Governors Island, once a smiling garden . . . was now covered with fortifications – so that this once-peaceful island resembled a fierce
- Author Washington Irving, Knickerbockerís History of New York, 1809
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 40° 41.582′ N, 74° 1.141′ W. Marker is in Governors Island, New York, in New York County. Marker is at the intersection of Carder Road and Hay Road, on the left when traveling west on Carder Road. Touch for map. Marker is located at the northwest corner of Governors Island. 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. Across the Harbor: Remembering September 11th (here, next to this marker); Group Effort (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Castle Williams (within shouting distance of this marker); Early North American Colonist Remains (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Castle Williams (within shouting distance of this marker); Andes Road (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Governors Island History in Brief (about 600 feet away); McKim, Meade & White, Architects of Governors Island (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Governors Island.
More about this marker.
Side 2 of the marker features four photographs. The top of the marker shows a large photo of Castle Williams with a caption of “Castle Williams between 1861 and 1865, photographed by Civil War-era photographer Mathew Brady. National Archives.” Three pictures appear along the bottom of the marker. The first is an interior photo of Castle Williams and has a caption of “Armed with dozens of cannon, Castle Williams was an intimidating sight.” Next to this is an aerial view of Fort Jay with a caption of “Until 1942, when they were removed for scrap for the war effort in World War II, Fort Jay had more than 50 Civil War-era 10- and 15-inch Rodman cannons protecting it and the harbor. In the 1930s, its barracks became housing for Army and Coast Guard families. Today, it is part of the National Monument.” The last photo is of the South Battery and has a caption of “South Battery protected the east side of the island along Buttermilk Channel. From the 1830s to the 1870s, it served as an army music school. When Governors Island became a major army headquarters,
Also see . . .
1. Detailed information about Castle Williams on Governors Island. National Park Service website. (Submitted on September 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. History of Governors Island. The Trust for Governors Island website. (Submitted on September 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. Governors Island. New York Harbor Parks website. (Submitted on September 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
4. Governors Island National Monument. National Park Service website. (Submitted on September 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Forts, Castles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 418 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on September 10, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.