Fort Wood - Bedloe's Island

Now known as Liberty Island

The following information provided by the US Park Service
at their excellent site:
IDLCS: 40500
Name: Fort Wood Walls
Also Known as: Star Fort
Built: 1808 - 1811
Altered: 1844
Altered: 1886
Altered: 1930 - 1965

Description: 24' High Battered Walls (20' Thick at Base)
Form: 11-Pointed Star, Battered Water Table, Projecting Pararpet/Coping
Construction Materials: Quarry-Faced Granite Ashlars

Defensive Features:
    Slots at Inside Corners
    Massive Iron Doors at Sally Port Entrance
    Stone Magazine
    Brick Arsenal

Named for: Eleazer Wood (Engineering Officer, Captain, War of 1812, later Lt. Colonel)

Date of Construction:
1808-1811 as part of New York Harbor Defense to protect Battery (Tip of Manhattan) and Ellis Island, among others (30) 24-Pound Cannons mounted "en barbette."

Date Selected as Site for STATUE OF LIBERTY: 1877

From New York's Forts:

1811      12 pointed star-shaped battery with 30 guns completed
1814      Named Ft Wood (for LtCol Elenzer Wood battle of Lake Erie)
1861      Used as Infirmary for 100 sick Confederate POWs
1877      Under consideration for the Statue of Liberty; garrison post built around original fort.
1886      Statue installed.
1902      Taken over for maintenance by the War Department.
1916      The National Park Service formed
1933      NPS took over operations of two acres; Army kept 10 acres.
1937      NPS took total control; Army begins to close the fort
1944      December. Army Finally closes fort.
1948 to 1950      Garrison post buildings of Fort Wood torn down

Visit Liberty Facts for more information on Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty
circa 1890
Fort Wood walls and cannons in foreground

This photo from the
Collections of the Library of Congress
at their excellent site:

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This page maintained by Gary Feuerstein

Page Initiated 30 April 2000