Sentinel in new York Harbor

Governors Island was among the longestcontinuously active military short articles in the joined States. Since the late1700s the island has served as a major Army headquarters and also later asthe largest coast Guard base in the nation. That is military role ended in1996 after end 200 year of service.

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The story started with the building of fort Jayand lock Williams, i beg your pardon were part of the network of forts protectingNew York Harbor. At the moment Castle Williams was constructed shortlybefore the battle of 1812, these imposing stone fortifications werestate-of-the-art, but advancements in weaponry rendered them useless by the1830s. Their survival as two of the finest preserved coastalfortifications that that period was because of the continuous presence of themilitary and the important function the island played end twocenturies.

The military tradition of Governors Island lies notonly in the island"s physics structures, but also in the stories ofthose who functioned to promote the security and values the our nation hereand abroad. One such individual was Secretary of battle Elihu root who,while enlarging the island for army support attributes in 1901,recognized the historic significance of fort Jay and Castle Williams andsaved them native demolition. The island"s heritage additionally includes theaccounts that soldiers who temporarily referred to as the island home whilemustered here prior to being deployed to faraway battlegrounds prefer Mexicoin 1846 and the Normandy beachheads during world War II.

The history includes the endure of Confederateprisoners crowded into Castle Williams during the civil War, and also their20th-century counterparts incarcerated in the old fort, which had becomepart the the military prison system. Governors Island preserves the storiesof personal achievements prefer the first successful flight over water. In1909 Wilbur wright took turn off from the island"s dusty parade soil andflew around the waist of the Statue that Liberty. In time this earlyairstrip would certainly serve together an airfield, polo ground, and also warehousedepot.

Though retired from energetic duty, Governors Islandhas again been called to serve, this time for public enjoyment anddiscovery. In 2001 Governors Island national Monument was developed topreserve ft Jay, castle Williams, and also the setting for over twocenturies of army life.

A Brief background of Governors Island

New York Harbor"s abundant waters and also lands firstattracted American Indian peoples like the Lenape. Dutch settlers in the1620s took advantage of the varied ecosystem and also established maritimeenterprises. The British provided the harbor"s strategic potential and, by1674, secured it because that the Crown.

In 1776 Gen. George Washington"s colonial army madea valiant attempt to fend off the brothers siege of new York. Patriotcannons ~ above Governors Island fired few of the first shots of the Battleof Brooklyn. The brothers prevailed and also held new York because that the expression ofthe Revolutionary War, yet the suffer steeled the solve of theyoung nation to safeguard its harbors.

In one of its an initial initiatives that was trulynational in scope, the united States began in the 1790s to fortifyimportant harbors with a collection of seaside defenses. Fort Jay and also CastleWilliams represent this beforehand national effort. Through the battle of 1812, NewYork Harbor"s installations proved effective deterrents to the BritishNavy.

As the at an early stage forts ended up being obsolete, many wereconverted to other uses. Governors Island continued to be in service as a U.S.Army administrative and training center. In 1878 the island, onceconsidered an outpost, became the Army"s headquarters because that the easternUnited States, and after civilization War II, the very first U.S. Military washeadquartered here.

As new York City got in internationalimportance, for this reason did the call of a posting come Governors Island. Forarmy officers, the was acknowledgment of achievement and a test ofleadership that often led to more senior commands. Soldiers stationedhere appreciated social, political, and business relations in the cityrivaled by few other posts.

On June 30, 1966, the army left the island and also theU.S. Coastline Guard established the headquarters because that its Atlantic AreaCommand—its largest base in the nation. For 30 year the CoastGuard and their families took pleasure in the exact same sense of neighborhood andmilitary prestige together their predecessors, a touch of little town life inAmerica"s biggest city.

Planning your Visit

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About the national MonumentGovernors Island nationwide Monument is a new national park site stillbeing developed. Visitor access, tourism schedules, ferry leave points,and ferry business are subject to change as the park evolves.

Hours and also TransportationThe national monument is right now open throughout the summer season. Dates,hours the operation, and event schedules space announced each spring.

The island is got to by ferry indigenous the BatteryMaritime structure at South and Whitehall highways in lower Manhattan.There might be a fee because that ferry transportation. Private watercrafts are notpermitted to dock at the island.

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Things come DoThe 22-acre national monument consists of the historic fortifications ofCastle Williams and also Fort Jay. In summer over there are avenues toexplore the fortifications and the national historical landmark districtthrough park ranger programs or a self-guiding wade tour. Servicesand facilities are incredibly limited. Bottled water is for sale, andvendors offer food in the summer season.

For a safe VisitAll visitors and also their belongings space subject to search prior to boardingferries. No tools or alcohol are allowed on ferries or island.• Walkways and also steps inside historical structures are narrow anduneven. Watch your step!

Source: NPS brochure (2012)


Governors Island national Monument — February 7, 2003 (established)Governors Island nationwide Monument — January 20, 2001 (authorized)

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