Castle Clinton

Castle Clinton

Infobox Protected area
name = Castle Clinton National Monument

caption = Castle Clinton in Battery Park, Historic American Buildings Survey
locator_x = 254
locator_y = 60
location = New York, New York, USA
nearest_city = New York City
lat_degrees = 40
lat_minutes = 42
lat_seconds = 13
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 74
long_minutes = 1
long_seconds = 1
long_direction = W
area = 1 acre (4,000 m²)
established = August 12, 1946
visitation_num = 2,949,231
visitation_year = 2004
governing_body = National Park Service

Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton was once a circular sandstone fort now located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan, New York City, in the United States. It subsequently became a beer garden, a theater, the first immigration station (predating Ellis Island), a very popular public aquarium, and finally a national monument.


Construction began in 1808 and was completed in 1811. The fort, known as West Battery (sometimes South-west Battery), was designed by architects John McComb Jr. and Jonathan Williams. It was built on a small artificial island just off shore.

West Battery was intended to complement the three-tiered Castle Williams (still extant) on Governors Island, which was "East Battery", to defend New York City from British forces in the tensions that marked the run-up to the War of 1812, but never saw action in that or any war. Subsequent landfill expanded Battery Park, and incorporated the fort into the mainland of Manhattan Island.

As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, Castle Clinton National Monument was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.

Changing names and uses

*Castle Clinton today is approximately two blocks west of where Fort Amsterdam stood almost 400 years ago, when New York City was still known by the Dutch name New Amsterdam.
*West Battery was renamed Castle Clinton in 1815, its current official name, in honor of New York City mayor Dewitt Clinton.

*The US Army stopped using the fort in 1821 and it was leased to New York City as a place of public entertainment and it opened as Castle Garden on July 3, 1824, a name by which it was popularly known for most of its existence, even to the present time. It served in turn as a promenade, beer garden/restaurant, exhibition hall, opera house, and theater. Designed as an open-air structure it was eventually roofed over to accommodate these uses.

*In 1850, the castle was the site of two extraordinarily successful concerts given for charity by the Swedish soprano Jenny Lind to initiate her American tour, managed by P. T. Barnum.

*In 1853 and 1854, the famous and very eccentric French conductor and composer of light music Louis-Antoine Jullien (1812-1860) gave dozens of very successful concerts mixing classical and light music.

*In 1855, it became the Emigrant Landing Depot as the New York State immigrant processing facility (the nation's first such entity) until 1890, when the Federal Government took over control of immigration processing, and opened the larger and more isolated Ellis Island facility for that purpose in 1892. Most of the immigration records burned in a pier fire during the transition to Ellis Island, but it is generally accepted that over 8 million immigrants (and as many as 12 million) were processed through Castle Garden. Prominent persons that were associated with the administration of the immigrant station included Gulian C. Verplanck, Friedrich Kapp, and John Alexander Kennedy.

*In 1896, Castle Garden became the site of the New York City Aquarium until 1941. For many years it was the city's most popular attraction, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. The structure was extensively altered and roofed over to a height of several stories, though the original masonry fort remained.

*In 1941 the politically powerful Park Commissioner Robert Moses wanted to tear the structure down completely, claiming that this was necessary to build a crossing from the Battery to Brooklyn. The public outcry at the loss of a popular recreation site and landmark stymied his effort at demolition, but the aquarium was closed and not replaced until Moses opened a new facility on Coney Island in 1957. "See Brooklyn-Battery bridge". [Author: Caro, Robert A. The power broker: Robert Moses and the fall of New York. New York, Knopf, 1974. ISBN 0-394-72024-5 ]

Castle Clinton National Monument

Although Castle Garden was designated a national monument on August 12, 1946, the law did not take effect until July 18, 1950, when the legislature and the governor of New York (Thomas Dewey) formally ceded ownership of the property to the Federal Government. A major rehabilitation took place in the 1970s. Today it is administered by the National Park Service and is a departure point for visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It appears much as it did in its earliest days, contains a museum, and is again called Castle Clinton.

Noted Castle Garden immigrants

"This list is an incomplete sampling"

*Martin Beck, owner of the Orpheum vaudeville circuit
*Edward Bok
*Mother Cabrini
*James J. Davis
*William Fox (producer)
*L. Wolfe Gilbert
*Emma Goldman
*Oscar Hammerstein I
*Harry Houdini
*Lew Leslie
*Carl Laemmle, founder of the Universal Studios
*"Typhoid" Mary Mallon
*M. P. Moller
*William Morris, founder of the William Morris Agency
*Joseph Pulitzer
*Michael I. Pupin
*Charles Proteus Steinmetz
*Nikola Tesla
*Sophie Tucker
*Bert Williams
*Adolph Zukor

Castle Garden bibliography

* "Castle Garden as an Immigrant Depot, 1855-1890," by George J Svejda (1968)
* "Castle Garden and Battery Park" by Barry Moreno (2007)
* "Guide to the New York Aquarium" by Charles H. Townsend (1919)
* "The Public Aquarium" by Charles H. Townsend (1928)

Castle Garden/Castle Clinton in fiction

* "Castle Garden" by Bill Albert (novel)
* "The Penguin Pool Murder" by Stuart Palmer (1931 novel)
* "The Penguin Pool Murder" (1932 motion picture)
* "The Alienist" by Caleb Carr (novel)
* Castle Clinton appears in the video game Deus Ex as a terrorist stronghold the player must infiltrate.
* An American Tail (animated film)

Castle Garden/Castle Clinton in Music

* The Irish music group Wolfe Tones' 1993 album Across the Broad Atlantic contains a tune called "Goodbye Mick" with the farcical line "For the ship will play with pitch and toss--for half a dozen farthings, I'll roll me bundle on me back, and walk to Castle Gardens."


External links

* [ Castle Clinton National Monument] Official site
* [ Castle Clinton from GORP]
* [ The Battery Conservancy]
* [ Castle Garden Immigration Database]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Castle Clinton — National Monument Castle Clinton im Battery Park …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Castle Clinton — National Monument Castle Clinton …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Castle Clinton National Monument — Castle Clinton im Battery Park …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Castle Clinton National Monument — Castle Clinton en 2007 Géographie Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Castle Clinton National Monument — geographical name historic site Manhattan Island, SE New York containing a fort …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Castle Garden — Castle Clinton National Monument Castle Clinton im Battery Park …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clinton (disambiguation) — Clinton is a family name. Clinton may also refer to: Contents 1 Surname 2 Places 2.1 Other places 3 CTA stations …   Wikipedia

  • Clinton House (Poughkeepsie, New York) — Clinton House U.S. National Register of Historic Places …   Wikipedia

  • Castle Williams — auf Governors Island …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Castle Williams — Infobox Military Structure name=Castle Williams partof=Governors Island location=New York, New York coordinates= caption=Seen from the harbor caption2= type=Castle, Martello tower code= built=1807 builder=Jonathan Williams (engineer)… …   Wikipedia

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