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Castle Clinton

About this listing

Battery Park fortification turned recreation then immigration center

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Battery Park City
Infrastructure, Social Movements, Historic Site & Museum

Place Matters Profile

Written by Theresa DeCicco for Place Matter and Professor Gwynneth Malins Fall 2019 NYU Local and Public History Course 

The circular sandstone fort which currently stands in Battery Park was originally named the Southwest Battery upon completion in 1811. As tensions escalated between the young United States and European powers in the early nineteenth-century, the Southwest Battery was built to further improve fortifications around the city’s harborfront. Constructed on a rocky outcropping off the shoreline of southern Manhattan, the Southwest Battery was connected to Manhattan’s Battery by a wooden drawbridge. The fort, renamed Castle Clinton in 1817 after city Mayor and New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton, was decommissioned in 1822 as the garrison moved to Governor’s Island. The federal government ceded the property back to the city authorities, and in turn, the city government installed gas lamps around the surrounding area and leased off the Castle as a “place of...

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Andrews, William. The Iconography of The Battery and Castle Garden. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901.

Burrows, Edwin, and Mike Wallace. Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

“Castle Garden as an Emigrant Depot,” New York Times, May 29, 1855.

NPS. “History & Cultrue of Castle Clinton,” Accessed December 8, 2019.

NYPAP. “ Preservation History of Castle Clinton,” NYPAP, Accessed December 8, 2019.

Obituary, The New York Times, November 3, 1887.

OMalley, Brendan P. 2015. "Protecting the Stranger: The Origins of U.S. Immigration Regulation in Nineteenth-Century New York." Order No. 3703669, City University of New York.

Svejda, George. Castle Garden As An Immigrant Depot, 1855 - 1890. U.S. Department of the Interior, 1968.

The Battery. “History,” Accessed December 8, 2019. 

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