In Part One, I had us take a visual stroll around Governors Island, while only showing general landmarks.
In this post, I’ll be covering some of the particulars of Castle Williams, which was built in 1807, under the direction of Lt. Colonel Jonathan Williams, as a defensive system for NYC’s inner harbor.
During the Civil War, the building was used to house Confederate prisoners, and later it became a minimum security prison, though the island maintained an Army base within Fort Jay (Part Three).
When landfill operations doubled the size of the island in the early 1900s, Secretary of War Elihu Root began a movement to preserve the forts and barracks as landmarks.
In 1965, the Coast Guard took over the island when the Army base was moved to Maryland, and almost demolished the castle fort, until deciding to make it a community center.
In 1997, the Coast Guard split, leaving the place rather empty, until 2003 when the National Parks Services listed the entire island as a national monument, and opened it up to the public as a park.
See you next week, for Part Three, where we will look inside the island's former Army post: Fort Jay.