Clinton National Monument
than a dozen forts were built to defend New York Harbor at the time
of the War of 1812. The Southwest Battery was constructed on the
rocks off the tip of Manhattan Island between 1808 and 1811. Although
fully armed and staffed, the fort never had occasion to fire upon
an enemy. In 1817, the fort was renamed Castle Clinton in honor
of DeWitt Clinton, Mayor of New York City.
army vacated the fort in 1821 and the structure was deeded to New
York City in 1823. In the summer of 1824, a new restaurant and entertainment
center opened at the site, now called Castle Garden. A roof was
added in the 1840s and Castle Garden served as an opera house and
theater until 1854.
August 3, 1855, Castle Garden, now leased to New York State, opened
as an immigrant landing depot.
the next 34 years, over 8 million people entered the United States
through Castle Garden, until it was closed on April 18, 1890. The
building was altered once again and reopened as the New York City
Aquarium on December 10, 1896. It was one of the city's most popular
attractions until it closed in 1941.