• Get away to Gateway, where you can camp and stay healthy with heart-smart activities. Photo by Sebastiano Privitera; used by permission.


    National Recreation Area NY,NJ

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  • Sand Replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach

    Sand replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach has begun. During this project, sections of the beach will be closed to the public for their safety. Replenishment is expected to take up to two weeks.

  • The Floyd Bennett Field Archery Range will be closed on October 22

    Sections of the archery range parking lot will be excavated by the Army Corps of Engineers, to remove defunct fuel lines. The archery range will reopen October 23.

A Detailed History of Fort Tilden

Building 1 was built by the WPA.

Fort Tilden Building 1 was constructed by the WPA.  Shown here in 1940.

National Archives

The Rockaway peninsula's first fortification came much earlier than Fort Tilden. Records indicate that a blockhouse was constructed during the War of 1812. This represented the 2nd system of defense.

It was not until over a century later that fortifications once again took shape on the peninsula. A large parcel of land was purchased that bordered the land already being used by the Treasury Department as a Coast Guard Station. On August 1, 1917 Fort Tilden was officially named for former New York Governor, Samuel J. Tilden.

The building and fortification construction began 1917. The emergency fortifications being built for World War I represented the Taft system of defense.

From the end of World War I through the 1930s, Fort Tilden was occupied only by a caretaker detachment.

A building construction period began in mid-1930s with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) completing many buildings. World War II began in Europe in 1939 and troops arrived at Fort Tilden in 1941. Approximately ninety new buildings were constructed for the war effort.

Click here for more information on Fort Tilden's Defenses from 1917-1945.

The Cold War brought anti-aircraft guns and later Nike Missiles to Fort Tilden.

Click here for more information on Fort Tilden in the Cold War.

Fort Tilden was deactivated in 1974 and became part of Gateway NRA.

Fort Tilden Map, 1964.
Fort Tilden Map, 1964.
U.S. Army

Did You Know?

Jacob Riis

Journalist Jacob Riis was called "New York's most useful citizen," by Theodore Roosevelt. Riis often accompanied Police Commissioner Roosevelt in raids exposing the hardship of life for New York City's poor and immigrant populations and published his photos in newspapers. More...