There was a time when Governors Island was called Paggnack by the Lepanae Indians who frequented the island for seasonal harvests up until 1624. Then the island was called Nutten Island by the Dutch who bought the island from the Native American tribes and used it not only for its food source but also as timber. The Dutch colonists Governors Island who came to the New York harbor under the direction of the Dutch West India Company used the trees so much that they left a saw mill on the island.The Dutch also used the island a recreational get away for the Governors of their colonies, hence the name, Governors Island. When the English took over the New York harbor, they continued to use the island for this purpose.
However, Governors Island began to use the island for military purpose in the American Revolution.By the time Ft Jay was reconstructed and Castle Williams and the South Battery were completed in 1811 there was hardly a tree left on the island. But this was not the end for the once forested island. At the main entrance Ft. Jay, trees were planted in the 1850's and the City Beautiful Movement changed the design of urban planning.