Castle Clinton National Monument

Castle Clinton National Monument, at the tip of Manhattan, has had a long and varied existence. The circular fortress was built between 1808 and 1811 as one of a series of forts to protect New York City from potential British aggression.

Castle Clinton National Monument
©National Park Service
Castle Clinton stands as a memorial to Colonial times in Manhattan's Battery Park.

Originally known as the Southwest Battery, its name was changed after the War of 1812 to Castle Clinton in honor of DeWitt Clinton, a former mayor of the city and later governor of New York State. No longer needed to defend New York, Castle Clinton was turned into a civic garden in 1824, is now Castle Clinton National Monument.

A newspaper described Castle Garden as a "fanciful garden, tastefully ornamented with shrubs and flowers." It was the setting for fireworks, gala concerts, an occasional balloon ascension, and scientific demonstrations. A month after its opening, the Marquis de Lafayette began his year-long tour of America at the Garden. Castle Garden served as a theater for more than a quarter century.

In 1855, Castle Garden became the depot for immigrants entering the country. For the first time, immigrants were protected from people who roamed the wharves looking for gullible newcomers to cheat.

After Ellis Island became the immigration center in 1892, Castle Clinton became an aquarium and then finally a museum and information center for National Park Service sites in metropolitan New York. The walls of the original fort remain intact; inside, exhibits trace the evolution of Castle Clinton.


More Information

Castle Clinton National Monument Information

Battery Park, Manhattan
New York, NY
Hours of Operation: Daily, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: Free

Learn about these other national memorials:

Cabrillo National MonumentJefferson National Expansion Memorial
Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts National Memorial
Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac
Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
Fort Larned National Historic Site
Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site
Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
Adams National Historic Site
Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteFort Raleigh National Historic SiteHampton National Historic SiteLincoln Home National Historic SitePuukohola Heiau National Historic SiteTheodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic SiteEdison National Historic SiteFort Scott National Historic SiteHarry S. Truman National Historic SiteLongfellow National Historic SiteSagamore Hill National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Eisenhower National Historic Site Fort Smith National Historic Site Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Maggie L. Walker National Historic SiteSaint Paul's Church National Historic SiteThomas Stone National Historic Site
Boston African -American National Historic Site Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic SiteFort Vancouver National Historic SiteHome of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic SiteManzanar National Historic Site

Gaudens National Historic Site

Touro Synagogue National Historic Site
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Eugene O'Neill National Historic SiteFrederick Douglass National Historic SiteHopewell Furnace National Historic SiteMartin Van Buren National Historic SiteSalem Maritime National Historic SiteUlysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Ford's Theatre­ National Historic SiteFrederick Law Olmsted National Historic SiteHubbell Trading Post National Historic SiteMary McLeod Bethune House National Historic Site Saugus Iron Works National Historic SiteWeir Farm National Historic Site
Charles Pinckney National Historic SiteFort Bowie National Historic SiteFriendship Hill National Historic SiteJames A. Garfield National Historic SiteMc Loughlin House National Historic SiteSewall -Belmont House National Historic SiteWhitman Mission National Historic Site
Chicago Portage National Historic Site
Fort Davis National Historic SiteGloria Dei Church National Historic SiteJimmy Carter National Historic SiteNinety Six National Historic Site Springfield Armory National Historic SiteWilliam Howard Taft National Historic Site
Christiansted National Historic SiteFort Laramie National Historic SiteGolden Spike National Historic SiteJohn Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic SitePalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site Steamtown National Historic Site

Learn about these other national monuments:

­Agate Fossil Beds National MonumentColorado National MonumentGeorge Washington Birthplace National MonumentNatural Bridges National MonumentScotts Bluff National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National MonumentDevils Postpile National Monument George Washington Carver National MonumentOcmulgee National MonumentSunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Aniakchak National Monument and PreserveDinosaur National MonumentGila Cliff Dwellings National MonumentOregon Caves National MonumentTimpanogos Cave National Monument
Booker T. Washington National MonumentEffigy Mounds National MonumentGrand Portage National MonumentOrgan Pipe Cactus National MonumentTonto National Monument
Buck Island Reef National MonumentEl Malpais National MonumentHohokam Pima National MonumentPetroglyph National MonumentTuzigoot National Monument
Cape Krusenstern National Monument El Morro National MonumentHomestead National MonumentPinnacles National MonumentWalnut Canyon National Monument
Capulin Volcano National MonumentFlorissant Fossil Beds National MonumentHovenweep National MonumentPipe Spring National MonumentWupatki National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National MonumentFort Frederica National MonumentJewel Cave National MonumentPipestone National Monument
Castle Clinton National MonumentFort Matanzas National MonumentJohn Day Fossil Beds National MonumentPoverty Point National Monument
Cedar Breaks National MonumentFort Stanwix National MonumentLava Beds National MonumentRainbow Bridge National Monument
Chiricahua National MonumentFossil Butte National MonumentMontezuma Castle National MonumentRussell Cave National Monument

To learn more about national national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:



Eric Peterson is a Denver-based freelance writer who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.