May 5, 1855 — New York’s Castle Clinton gained a new purpose today. Built as a fort in anticipation of the War of 1812, it was transformed into the City’s premier cultural center when successive landfills enlarged the park.
This helped it welcome 8.5 million immigrants.
Then, in 1896, the Castle was transformed into the New York Aquarium, making it one of the nation’s first public aquariums.
By 1941, it faced near–total demolition. But during a major preservation battle in 1946, the fort walls were declared a National Monument by an Act of Congress.
It was later restored to its original appearance by the National Park Service in 1975. The Castle currently currently houses a small interpretive display and the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island ferry.
The historical records used by Castlegarden.org are held by and available for research at the US National Archives and Records Administration, New York City.
Words of Wisdom
"Our castle is not imposing, but is well built, and surrounded by a very fine garden. I live in the bailiff's house."